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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
A year and a half after it had a limited launch in India and Indonesia, the lightweight Google Go search app is now available worldwide. At just over 7MB in size, the app is meant as a way to find information online for low-powered devices, and is also able to remember your search results when you’re back online if your connection drops. The app is available now on the Play Store, and Google says it will run on all Android devices running on Lollipop (5.0) and above.
As well as being designed to work on low-powered devices, Google Go also has a few features that the company says are designed for the needs of emerging markets. Earlier this year Google added Lens functionality into Google Go, which allows the app to use its camera to read text from the real world out loud. The app also features support for voice search and, as of this time last year, can read webpages out loud. A move away from typing and reading is no coincidence. After all, a report published by The Wall Street Journal in 2017 noted that the “Next Billion Users” Google is so vocally targeting are likely to rely more on video and voice to interact with their devices.
Google Go is just one of the many Go-branded apps that Google produces with emerging markets in mind. These include Gmail Go, which offers a slimmed-down email experience, and Gallery Go, which you can use to organize your photos. Alongside these apps, Google also produces Android Go, a slimmed-down version of its mobile operating system for low-powered devices. Although meant mainly for emerging markets, this software has also found fans elsewhere due to the relative lack of tacked-on features and these apps’ efficiency on cheaper phones.