Motorbike Mode navigation is launched by Google in Kenya

Boda Boda
Motorcycle boda boda. Photo: Simisa (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Yesterday, Google announced it would offer Motorbike Mode on Google Maps in Kenya, making it the first country in Africa to be offered the voice navigation service for bike riders.

Kenyan roads are full of motorcycles taxis, known as boda bodas, that are much cheaper rides to car taxis, and in a statement, the company said:”For over a million Kenyans, boda bodas are a convenient and affordable way to move and transport goods from one place to another.

“With Google Maps’ new Motorbike Mode, users across Kenya will now be able to get directions and turn-by-turn navigation, to suggest routes that are more efficient,” it added.

Poor street signposting and congestion make it difficult for boda boda drivers to locate and pick up customers when they hail them by phone.

Google also said it was launching its Street View service in Kenya for the first time which will allow users to virtually explore via its images 9,500 km (6,000 miles) of roads in cities such as Nairobi and holiday destinations such as the coastal town of Malindi.

The company has also set aside Ksh100 million to train Kenyan farmers in digital skills because the industry employs 40 per cent of the population and accounts for a third of gross domestic product (GDP).

“We want to see the power of technology elevate small scale farming. We hope that through this initiative, we will see a positive impact in food security, job creation and GDP growth in Kenya,” Google’s Kenya manager, Charles Murito, said.

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