Last June, Google introduced a number of SMS-based services specifically designed to suit the mobile needs of Africans, kicking off in the Republic of Uganda. Today, the search giant is complementing one of the cellphone services it had launched in the country, an SMS-based marketplace dubbed Google Trader, with a web-based version of its own.
Essentially, Google Trader is an online marketplace like we’ve seen a thousand of before; a place people can visit to search for, buy and sell all sorts of goods and services. When the new product was debuted in Uganda last Summer, users could only send SMS messages with certain commands (e.g. REGISTER or BUY) from their mobile phones to trade on the platform. Still available only in English and still completely free, Ugandans can now visit the custom Google Trader marketplace on the web to search for and trade products and services like crops, cars, electronics or jobs straight from their computers.
With the Web version, users get a bit more functionality, such as the ability to search for multiple items at once and to include photos and more detailed information about the products or services they’re selling.
Like the blog post announcing the new browser-based version of Google Trader says, the service is meant to provide African people with greater access to new markets and trade opportunities. Hopefully, we’ll see these and other SMS services being introduced on a significant scale in other countries soon as well.