New Google App posts serious challenge to Facebook, WhatsApp in India

New Google App posts serious challenge to Facebook, WhatsApp in India
Picture: Google India Blog

New Delhi: To help people find local answers in their neighbourhood, Google India recently announced the beta launch of a new app called “Neighbourly” in the country. “The beta version is available today in Mumbai. If you’re in a different city, join the waitlist,” Google India tweeted.

According to a news published on Bloomberg, which quoted a real incident of a Mumbai train commuter who witnessed an accident, immediately took out his smartphone to ask neighbors (on Neighbourly App) how to help a bleeding victim. Responses reportedly poured in instantaneously. Some of them are 1. Take him to the station master at the next stop; 2. Ask the ticket collector for first aid; 3. call 138 for emergency help and so on. Not long after, the commuter posted a happy ending: the injured party had received medical attention.

With almost a half billion Indians now using smartphones, Google sees an opportunity to become a one-stop shop for search, social networking and payments.

“With ‘Neighbourly’, we’re finding new ways to move forward on Google’s mission to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” Josh Woodward, Group Product Manager on Google’s Next Billion Users team, said in a statement.

The app will help users answer queries like ‘find out which is the safest park for my kids in an area’ or ‘any affordable Maths private tuition available near me’.

“In big cities across India, it’s getting harder to get good answers to these questions because cities keep changing, including the people who live there,” read the app’s description on its website.

“That’s why we built ‘Neighbourly’, an app that helps you ask your neighbours questions, be a local expert, and keep up with your neighbourhood,” it added.

“In our research, we’ve found that most of life happens within a 1km radius of where you live, so we wanted to create a new experience for neighbours to benefit from the collective knowledge inside their neighbourhoods. And, when that happens, we hope neighbourhoods everywhere will start to feel even more neighbourly,” Woodward said.

To use the app, type or use your voice to answer your neighbours’ questions.

Swipe to keep up with everyone around you. Tap the star to follow what matters and get updates as your neighbours answer. Ask and answer questions without sharing your private details.

“With ‘Neighbourly’, your questions get routed to the right neighbours instantly, and then they can write back with the most up-to-date, relevant and accurate info,” the app’s description said.

With agencies inputs