Bodaboda riders.

Google on Monday announced the launch of Motorbike Mode, a dedicated travel mode for motorcycles, which will provide directions and voice navigation in Kenya, the first in Africa.

“Every day we make decisions about where to go, how to get there, when to set out; and Google Maps can help with these choices. The motorbike, or ‘bodaboda’, has become a popular way to get around in Kenya with over a million Kenyans using motorbikes as their preferred mode of transport. Today, for the first time in Africa, we’re excited to announce a dedicated travel mode for motorcycles, which will provide directions and voice navigation. We hope that Motorbike Mode will help keep Kenyans on the move and we’ll be working to make the feature even more useful in the coming months,” it said in a blog post.

Motorbike Mode was one of a series of products and programmes Google unveiled to mark 11 years since it opened its Nairobi office.

Google Motorbike Mode.

Another is a Street View of 9,500 km of beautiful imagery of the country, which it says will enable Kenyans and tourists alike get a more immersive experience as they navigate and explore cities and destinations around the country.  It is available on Google Maps and accessible to everyone around the world.

It also announced a Ksh 100 million ($1 million) Google.org initiative to provide digital skills training to more than 100,000 smallholder farmers in low-income and rural Kenya in the next year. Google will partner with Kakamega-based NGO, One Acre Fund and that has experience in providing training, products and services on credit to smallholder farmers.

“The aim is to help these farmers make the most of the web for their agribusinesses, so that they can increase yields and productivity. The funds will allow them to digitise operations and tasks (training, payments, crop health etc),” it said.

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