Tag Archives: Africa

YouTube Music et YouTube Premium arrivent au Kenya, au Sénégal et au Ghana

Nous sommes ravis d’annoncer que YouTube Premium et YouTube Music seront disponibles au Kenya, au Sénégal et au Ghana à partir du 5 décembre. Les utilisateurs dans ces pays auront désormais accès à l’application YouTube Music, ainsi qu’à l’expérience YouTube Premium qui leur permettra de profiter de leurs contenus sans interruption sur YouTube.

YouTube Music

Avec l’application YouTube Music, nous avons créé un service de streaming musical dédié qui propose plus de 100 millions de titres officiels, ainsi qu'un vaste catalogue de performances live, de clips musicaux, de remix, de podcasts et de morceaux rares que vous ne trouverez nulle part ailleurs. Avec tous ces contenus musicaux, nous avons conçu une expérience musicale personnalisée qui répond à vos envies et préférences.

Ce catalogue musical mondial est désormais à votre portée grâce à YouTube Music. Que vous souhaitiez écouter les derniers titres d’artistes populaires comme Sauti Sol, Burna Boy et Tems, ou découvrir de nouveaux talents indé comme Karun et Xenia Manasseh, tout est là ! Vous trouverez aussi les albums des géants de la musique, comme X&Y.

Voici quelques-unes des fonctionnalités que vous allez adorer dans YouTube Music : 

  • La recherche intelligente vous permet de trouver des chansons avec seulement quelques paroles

  • La barre ”Activité” vous permet d’accéder rapidement à des playlists et des mix personnalisés pour toutes les occasions 

  • L’onglet “Explorer” vous permet de découvrir le meilleur des nouveautés et titres populaires

  • L’onglet “Similaires” vous propose du contenu musical basé sur le morceau que vous êtes en train d’écouter

  • Les paroles synchronisées vous permettent de suivre les paroles de la chanson que vous écoutez

  • Des recommandations musicales de grande qualité grâce aux fonctionnalités intelligentes de Google

Nous savons bien que chaque expérience musicale est unique. C'est pourquoi nous avons conçu cette application pour VOUS. Profitant du vaste écosystème de YouTube, les abonnés YouTube Premium ont également accès à YouTube Music Premium, qui permet d’écouter de la musique sans publicité, hors connexion et en arrière-plan, partout et à tout moment.

Cette année, nous avons lancé une multitude de nouvelles fonctionnalités très pratiques sur YouTube Music pour vous aider à trouver votre prochain morceau favori, personnaliser votre expérience d'écoute et développer une communauté unique de fans de musique. Mais surtout, nous voulons que votre expérience musicale soit un plaisir. Découvrez ces fonctionnalités plus en détail sur notre blog YouTube mondial.

YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium est un service d’abonnement payant conçu pour les plus grands fans de YouTube. Avec ce service, ils ont accès à une nouvelle expérience de visionnage plus fluide pour regarder leurs créatrices et créateurs favoris dans le monde entier, sans interruption. 

  • Visionnage sans publicité : Regardez toutes vos vidéos sans publicité. 

  • Lecture en arrière-plan : Avec un abonnement YouTube Premium, vous pouvez continuer à écouter l’audio de votre vidéo même si vous quittez l’application YouTube.

  • Accès hors connexion : Vous pouvez télécharger vos vidéos préférées pour pouvoir les regarder quand vous voulez.

  • YouTube Music Premium : Vous recevrez automatiquement une version premium de YouTube Music, qui vous permet d’écouter de la musique hors connexion et sans publicité, dans l’application YouTube  Music.

- Poste par Addy Awofisayo, Responsable de la Musique, Afrique Subsaharienne, YouTube

Responsible AI at Google Research: Context in AI Research (CAIR)

Artificial intelligence (AI) and related machine learning (ML) technologies are increasingly influential in the world around us, making it imperative that we consider the potential impacts on society and individuals in all aspects of the technology that we create. To these ends, the Context in AI Research (CAIR) team develops novel AI methods in the context of the entire AI pipeline: from data to end-user feedback. The pipeline for building an AI system typically starts with data collection, followed by designing a model to run on that data, deployment of the model in the real world, and lastly, compiling and incorporation of human feedback. Originating in the health space, and now expanded to additional areas, the work of the CAIR team impacts every aspect of this pipeline. While specializing in model building, we have a particular focus on building systems with responsibility in mind, including fairness, robustness, transparency, and inclusion.


The CAIR team focuses on understanding the data on which ML systems are built. Improving the standards for the transparency of ML datasets is instrumental in our work. First, we employ documentation frameworks to elucidate dataset and model characteristics as guidance in the development of data and model documentation techniques — Datasheets for Datasets and Model Cards for Model Reporting.

For example, health datasets are highly sensitive and yet can have high impact. For this reason, we developed Healthsheets, a health-contextualized adaptation of a Datasheet. Our motivation for developing a health-specific sheet lies in the limitations of existing regulatory frameworks for AI and health. Recent research suggests that data privacy regulation and standards (e.g., HIPAA, GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act) do not ensure ethical collection, documentation, and use of data. Healthsheets aim to fill this gap in ethical dataset analysis. The development of Healthsheets was done in collaboration with many stakeholders in relevant job roles, including clinical, legal and regulatory, bioethics, privacy, and product.

Further, we studied how Datasheets and Healthsheets could serve as diagnostic tools that surface the limitations and strengths of datasets. Our aim was to start a conversation in the community and tailor Healthsheets to dynamic healthcare scenarios over time.

To facilitate this effort, we joined the STANDING Together initiative, a consortium that aims to develop international, consensus-based standards for documentation of diversity and representation within health datasets and to provide guidance on how to mitigate risk of bias translating to harm and health inequalities. Being part of this international, interdisciplinary partnership that spans academic, clinical, regulatory, policy, industry, patient, and charitable organizations worldwide enables us to engage in the conversation about responsibility in AI for healthcare internationally. Over 250 stakeholders from across 32 countries have contributed to refining the standards.

Healthsheets and STANDING Together: towards health data documentation and standards.


When ML systems are deployed in the real world, they may fail to behave in expected ways, making poor predictions in new contexts. Such failures can occur for a myriad of reasons and can carry negative consequences, especially within the context of healthcare. Our work aims to identify situations where unexpected model behavior may be discovered, before it becomes a substantial problem, and to mitigate the unexpected and undesired consequences.

Much of the CAIR team’s modeling work focuses on identifying and mitigating when models are underspecified. We show that models that perform well on held-out data drawn from a training domain are not equally robust or fair under distribution shift because the models vary in the extent to which they rely on spurious correlations. This poses a risk to users and practitioners because it can be difficult to anticipate model instability using standard model evaluation practices. We have demonstrated that this concern arises in several domains, including computer vision, natural language processing, medical imaging, and prediction from electronic health records.

We have also shown how to use knowledge of causal mechanisms to diagnose and mitigate fairness and robustness issues in new contexts. Knowledge of causal structure allows practitioners to anticipate the generalizability of fairness properties under distribution shift in real-world medical settings. Further, investigating the capability for specific causal pathways, or “shortcuts”, to introduce bias in ML systems, we demonstrate how to identify cases where shortcut learning leads to predictions in ML systems that are unintentionally dependent on sensitive attributes (e.g., age, sex, race). We have shown how to use causal directed acyclic graphs to adapt ML systems to changing environments under complex forms of distribution shift. Our team is currently investigating how a causal interpretation of different forms of bias, including selection bias, label bias, and measurement error, motivates the design of techniques to mitigate bias during model development and evaluation.

Shortcut Learning: For some models, age may act as a shortcut in classification when using medical images.

The CAIR team focuses on developing methodology to build more inclusive models broadly. For example, we also have work on the design of participatory systems, which allows individuals to choose whether to disclose sensitive attributes, such as race, when an ML system makes predictions. We hope that our methodological research positively impacts the societal understanding of inclusivity in AI method development.


The CAIR team aims to build technology that improves the lives of all people through the use of mobile device technology. We aim to reduce suffering from health conditions, address systemic inequality, and enable transparent device-based data collection. As consumer technology, such as fitness trackers and mobile phones, become central in data collection for health, we explored the use of these technologies within the context of chronic disease, in particular, for multiple sclerosis (MS). We developed new data collection mechanisms and predictions that we hope will eventually revolutionize patient’s chronic disease management, clinical trials, medical reversals and drug development.

First, we extended the open-source FDA MyStudies platform, which is used to create clinical study apps, to make it easier for anyone to run their own studies and collect good quality data, in a trusted and safe way. Our improvements include zero-config setups, so that researchers can prototype their study in a day, cross-platform app generation through the use of Flutter and, most importantly, an emphasis on accessibility so that all patient’s voices are heard. We are excited to announce this work has now been open sourced as an extension to the original FDA-Mystudies platform. You can start setting up your own studies today!

To test this platform, we built a prototype app, which we call MS Signals, that uses surveys to interface with patients in a novel consumer setting. We collaborated with the National MS Society to recruit participants for a user experience study for the app, with the goal of reducing dropout rates and improving the platform further.

MS Signals app screenshots. Left: Study welcome screen. Right: Questionnaire.

Once data is collected, researchers could potentially use it to drive the frontier of ML research in MS. In a separate study, we established a research collaboration with the Duke Department of Neurology and demonstrated that ML models can accurately predict the incidence of high-severity symptoms within three months using continuously collected data from mobile apps. Results suggest that the trained models can be used by clinicians to evaluate the symptom trajectory of MS participants, which may inform decision making for administering interventions.

The CAIR team has been involved in the deployment of many other systems, for both internal and external use. For example, we have also partnered with Learning Ally to build a book recommendation system for children with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia. We hope that our work positively impacts future product development.

Human feedback

As ML models become ubiquitous throughout the developed world, it can be far too easy to leave voices in less developed countries behind. A priority of the CAIR team is to bridge this gap, develop deep relationships with communities, and work together to address ML-related concerns through community-driven approaches.

One of the ways we are doing this is through working with grassroots organizations for ML, such as Sisonkebiotik, an open and inclusive community of researchers, practitioners and enthusiasts at the intersection of ML and healthcare working together to build capacity and drive forward research initiatives in Africa. We worked in collaboration with the Sisonkebiotik community to detail limitations of historical top-down approaches for global health, and suggested complementary health-based methods, specifically those of grassroots participatory communities (GPCs). We jointly created a framework for ML and global health, laying out a practical roadmap towards setting up, growing and maintaining GPCs, based on common values across various GPCs such as Masakhane, Sisonkebiotik and Ro’ya.

We are engaging with open initiatives to better understand the role, perceptions and use cases of AI for health in non-western countries through human feedback, with an initial focus in Africa. Together with Ghana NLP, we have worked to detail the need to better understand algorithmic fairness and bias in health in non-western contexts. We recently launched a study to expand on this work using human feedback.

Biases along the ML pipeline and their associations with African-contextualized axes of disparities.

The CAIR team is committed to creating opportunities to hear more perspectives in AI development. We partnered with Sisonkebiotik to co-organize the Data Science for Health Workshop at Deep Learning Indaba 2023 in Ghana. Everyone’s voice is crucial to developing a better future using AI technology.


We would like to thank Negar Rostamzadeh, Stephen Pfohl, Subhrajit Roy, Diana Mincu, Chintan Ghate, Mercy Asiedu, Emily Salkey, Alexander D’Amour, Jessica Schrouff, Chirag Nagpal, Eltayeb Ahmed, Lev Proleev, Natalie Harris, Mohammad Havaei, Ben Hutchinson, Andrew Smart, Awa Dieng, Mahima Pushkarna, Sanmi Koyejo, Kerrie Kauer, Do Hee Park, Lee Hartsell, Jennifer Graves, Berk Ustun, Hailey Joren, Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell for their contributions and influence, as well as our many friends and collaborators at Learning Ally, National MS Society, Duke University Hospital, STANDING Together, Sisonkebiotik, and Masakhane.

Source: Google AI Blog

Google for Startups Accelerator Africa: Call for Applications for Women Founders

Women account for 17% of business founders in Africa, yet they receive a fraction of available capital. In 2021, African startups raised over $5 billion in funding across various sectors, with just 20% going to startups co-founded by women and only 1% of funding going to women-led startups. This is despite the fact that women make up half of the population and are increasingly dominant in the entrepreneurship space, with 58% of businesses in Africa being owned by women.

One example of a successful and innovative women-led startup in Africa is Pezesha, a micro lending platform founded by Hilda Moraa in Kenya. Pezesha leverages credit analytics and big data to offer users access to loans securely using mobile money, helping to digitize small businesses and tackle poverty and unemployment. The platform also improves financial literacy and increases business earnings, driving economic growth and improving livelihoods.

By increasing the representation of women in the startup ecosystem, we can help bridge the gap between the number of women-led startups and the amount and quality of support they receive, ultimately leading to more diversity and innovation.

This is why we are excited to announce the launch of the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program, which aims to support and empower women entrepreneurs in Africa by addressing these specific challenges.

The program will run for 12 weeks and will include both online and in-person sessions, starting in March and ending in May 2023. This program is part of our broader efforts to improve the representation of women across different sections and to provide resources, mentorship and a network of support for female entrepreneurs.

We believe that by providing access to funding, resources and mentorship, we can help to empower women founders to scale their businesses, create jobs and make a positive impact on their communities.

Applications for the program are open now through February 20th, 2023. We encourage all women building great tech startups in Africa or for Africa to apply to the program and take advantage of this opportunity.

Posted by Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa, Google


Meet The YouTube Black Voices Creator, Artist, Singer and Songwriter Class of 2023

We believe in the power and importance of amplifying Black stories. From content centered around fashion and wellness, to videos about comedy and politics, Black creators and artists continue to play an important role in shaping the culture of YouTube and driving the platform forward every day. That’s why, in 2020, we created the YouTube Black Voices Fund, a global, multi-year commitment to center and grow Black creators and artists on our platform, as well as to produce and acquire new YouTube Original programs, focused on racial justice and Black experiences.

As part of this Fund, we developed the YouTube Black Voices grant program, an initiative dedicated to equipping Black creators and artists with the resources to thrive on YouTube. Our first two classes have launched short films, topped Billboard charts, been nominated for and won Grammy Awards and so much more.

Today, we’re pleased to announce that the YouTube Black Voices Class of 2023 is here! It’s our biggest class yet with 179 grantees, hailing from around the world and innovating in every way. Meet the class below, discover your new fav creator, and keep an eye out for all of the exciting content they’ll create in 2023.


We’re honored to equip the talented creatives with resources to fuel their creativity. In the coming months, we will work closely with these creators by offering dedicated partner support from YouTube and seed funding to help them develop their channels and grow on our platform. They will also have opportunities to participate in bespoke training, workshops, and networking programs.

We built the YouTube Black Voices Fund to invest with an intention to present fresh narratives that emphasize the intellectual power, authenticity, dignity, and joy of Black voices, as well as to educate audiences about racial justice. This initiative also includes investing in the impact of our platform, and over the program, we've directly empowered more than 500 creators and artists from across the world to support, grow, and fund their channels and content development. In addition to the YouTube Black Voices Fund grantees who partner with YouTube directly, we’ll continue to support and connect with the wider global Black diaspora and communities through a wide range of programming and events.

The YouTube Black Voices Fund is only one facet of the comprehensive work currently underway to make YouTube a place where Black artists, creators, and users can feel empowered to share their stories. We continue to make product and policy changes to meet that goal and recently provided an update on our work to make YouTube a more inclusive platform, including how we handle harmful and hateful comments.

We can’t wait for you to hear more from the Class of 2023 as they continue embarking on their journeys as creators and artists, sharing their stories and their music!

Below is our full list of the #YouTubeBlackVoices 2023 creator class from Sub-Saharan Africa.

  1. 234 Drive   |     234drive    

  2. Agatha Nkirote    |     Agatha Nkirote        

  3. Banele Ndaba     |      Moghelingz    

  4. Caleb Orem     |     Ruthless Focus      

  5. Clarissa Magunde    |    Coffeenomilk       

  6. Dennis Akpan  |  Denixx Kreatives        

  7. Eniola Olanrewaju  |  Korty Eo 

  8. Happy Osereme Egbor   |    Stylebyreme        

  9. Gina Ehikodi Ojo    |      Foodies And Spice

  10. Ifeyinwa Mogekwu        Ify's Kitchen

  11. Izzi Boye    |    Izzi Boye       

  12. Joanne Wanja     |    Diy With Jojo

  13. Juliet Kane     |     Kane’s Kitchen Affair

  14. Kate  Wanjiku    |     Kate Kendy      

  15. Kelechi Anyanwu    |    Chantel Anyanwu        

  16. Latifat Omowunmi Kilani   |    Pot Of Flavours     

  17. Louis Ihuefo    |    Louis Ihuefo     

  18. Maryam Apaokagi-Greene    |    Taaooma’s Cabin   

  19. Martin Kihara        African Real Estate      

  20. Matlala Mokgehle      |    Zillewizzy   

  21. Millicent Mashile And Innocent Sadiki     |    Centtwinz TV

  22. Muzikayifani Sambo      |     Muzi Sambo        

  23. Mzwandile And Siza Ndlovu     |     Mzwandile & Siza      

  24. Olive Nkirote      |     Onr        

  25. Oluebube Belonwu     |   Bof Games        

  26. Oluwafemi Olaniyan   |   Femi Olaniyan        

  27. Oyisa Matebese     |     Ohsmallstuff    

  28. Perseverance Maremeni     |    Madam Speaker  

  29. Reginald Mohlabi      |    Reggie Mohlabi  

  30. Seithati Letsipa        Seithati Letsipa    

  31. Thulile Dlamuka       |    Thuli Madlamuka       

  32. Tokoni Iderima     |   Football Fans Tribe     

  33. Tumelo Moliko     |     Tumi Moliko   

  34. Tsoanelo Moyo     |     Tsoanieskits       

  35. Sebastian Ngida     |    Kenyan Entrepreneur

  36. Segun Oladapo-Ogunsanya    |    Kagan        

  37. Solina  Naidoo     |     Perima’s Kitchen        

  38. Sinikiwe Kademaunga     |    Sinikiwe Kademaunga        

  39. Susan Muriithi    |     Suzyshomestead

  40. Wongel Haile    |     Wongel Zelalem

    Posted by Alex Okosi, Managing Director, Emerging Markets, YouTube


    Telling powerful African stories through colour

    Editor's note:

    Ravi Naidoo, the creator of the Interactive Africa and Design Indaba, an annual three-day design conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, contributed today's post. He discusses the Colours of Africa project, which showcases the best of African craft, product, industrial design, fashion, film, animation, graphic, cuisine, music, jewellery, and architecture.


    African culture is joyful, expressive and vivid – and intrinsically linked to color – from rallying shades of liberation to evocative hues of optimism, color is embraced as an unspoken language. With a vibrant palette and gift for storytelling, as Africans, we tell powerful stories through color, and it is this unique phenomenon that led to the development of the ‘Colors of Africa’ project. This ambitious initiative shares stories from Africa by Africans.

    Design Indaba collaborated with Google Arts & Culture on this brand-new, cross-continental project. In order to tell the full story of such a diverse continent, we approached 60 African creatives and asked them each to create a unique work that depicts their home country through the symbolism of color.

    At the same time we asked what being African meant to them. The resulting works and thoughts offer personal insights into African lived experiences and add the ever evolving kaleidoscope that is the African continent.

    The stories of each creative have been woven into a colourful tapestry which is available on Google Arts & Culture. And this bespoke, online exhibit dives into the artist’s experience of their country – as well grappling with the intricacies of identity. In addition to the exhibits, you can spin the kaleidoscope to explore and collect the colours of Africa. Experience the different countries and travel through Africa guided by the eyes of local artists.

    Each work is a personal and completely unique experience of a country. Discover some of the colours of Africa below:

    I invite you to discover more about each artist and artwork on the dedicated hub on Google Arts & Culture, or travel through the kaleidoscope here and share your colours with the world.

    Posted by Ravi Naaido, Founder & CEO, Design Indaba, 


    How building a YouTube channel helped a Muslim influencer on his faith journey

    Sharing religious advice online comes with a lot of responsibility and that’s not something Nasiruddin Shuraim Abdulmumin takes lightly. The 27-year-old YouTuber and TedX speaker started a channel called Did You Know Studios in 2016 to share his faith with his followers. Since then, he’s been interviewing some of the most influential figures in the world of Islam, touching on many taboo topics and educating his community about his religion.

    Having studied Islamic Theology at Al-Hikmah University, Shuraim knew he wanted to share a religious message but he wanted to deliver it differently, and YouTube became his platform of choice. So after his first interview with Mufti Menk, a scholar twice listed as one of the ‘500 Most Influential Muslims in the world’, he knew he had found his purpose. In 2017 Shuraim was invited to perform a pilgrimage as a guest of the King of Saudi Arabia.

    As his popularity grows, we spoke to Shuraim about why young people trust influencers more than religious institutions and how starting his channel helped him on his own personal faith journey.

    Why did you choose YouTube to share your spirituality?
    For me, YouTube was the easiest and least stressful way to spread my message. The restrictions that come from broadcasting on TV, for example, don’t exist with YouTube. There’s a lot more freedom and I think that’s very important when it comes to a topic like religion. You need to be able to speak freely and honestly. That is something I pride myself on - talking about issues that some people may consider controversial or taboo.

    Why would you say it’s very important to share some of the more taboo topics you discuss?
    Well, the question I always ask myself is: If I don't talk about it, then who will? The reason why I’m doing this is that I want people to be enlightened. I want them to feel comfortable coming forward with their troubles, talking about them and seeking help. The journey of enlightenment means answering difficult questions about behaviours and talking about things that make us uncomfortable. So If I’m not ready to cover taboo topics, then what would be the point of having this channel?

    With almost half a million views on your YouTube channel, how do you plan to grow your social profile to reach more followers?
    I am proud that my channel has grown very organically without any marketing. It’s gone from one subscriber to about 9000, and I think it’s because I’m offering something unique to my audience. However, I would like to reach a larger audience online so I’m planning to bring in some social media experts who can help me build my online following.

    Have you used Google’s tools, programmes or training to help your channel grow and be discoverable online?
    Google Search helped me a lot, especially in the early stages of starting my channel. I Googled so many different things to find inspiration for content, to see what other people were doing in the religious space and to watch how TV hosts conducted interviews. I believe that every young person needs someone to take them somewhere within themselves that they cannot get to by themselves. However, sometimes you don't have that person to hold your hand, so I used Google as a starting point to help discover and explore different ways I could share my spiritual message.


    Has starting this channel helped with your personal faith journey?
    Most definitely. Some people think that a lot of spiritual leaders just grew and became spiritual. But that’s not always the case, it’s a journey. When I’m interviewing my guests on YouTube, I’m learning from them too. These interviews are changing my whole perspective on life. I’ve learnt new behaviours, such as praying more regularly and I’ve learnt more about the person I want to become. Sharing my faith online has certainly helped me become a better human being and helped me become a better leader in my community. These are all things that I didn’t expect to happen when starting a YouTube channel. As I’ve grown within my own personal faith, it has made me feel more responsible. I intentionally make careful decisions for myself and the brand. For example, now that we have a studio, we can make better editing choices like deciding after a shoot that the content isn’t right for our audience. We can choose whether or not to release a video depending on if it’s beneficial to my community.

    Do you feel like you have a responsibility to your YouTube audience to provide advice and guidance?
    I do feel responsible, and that's why I'm very careful about who I choose to talk to on the channel. We carefully research each topic we feel is relevant and timely from sexuality to addictions and body issues. These are not just topics for Muslims, but for a wider audience too. People like myself, with a community that relies on us and trusts us for information and advice, should feel responsible because we have a duty to our audience.

    Why do you think young people’s trust in religious institutions is low, but trust in religious influencers is still high?
    Young people’s trust in religious institutions may be low right now but religious institutions are extremely important. They provide knowledge that is incalculable and forever valuable. Young people may tend to put religious scholars on a pedestal that seems out of reach while religious influencers like me are committed to making followers feel more comfortable and understood because we talk to them in a very relatable, human way. This often means when the scholars do something we disagree with or make a mistake, we lose all trust in them forgetting that they are human beings too. As influencers, we do need to be careful because people are looking up to us. We need to keep educating ourselves and be more prudent and sincere in whatever we do.

    With many Muslim influencers growing large digital followings, what is the future of the faith in the digital age?
    I don't think it's going to be very different, but it will definitely improve. Nowadays, a lot of people are sharing their religious knowledge online, and we even opened an online school during the Coronavirus pandemic. We had about 4000 students globally, Muslims and non-Muslims, and we had scholars from all over the world offering free classes for anyone interested in learning more about Islam. It really showed us that people are ready and willing to learn more about religion. That’s why we need to encourage as many clerics as possible to understand the importance of social media. Because we are in a time where a lot of people are very comfortable with learning and understanding faith digitally. So we need to make sure that the people who are experts in this field, who are maybe from a different or older generation, can reach audiences in person as well as online.

    What would be your advice for young people hoping to engage with spirituality today?
    My first piece of advice is to be open-minded. You can learn about religion from a range of different people, regardless of their faith. Secondly, as a young person, I think it’s important to find a mentor. Someone who will be there for you, who will guide you, who will love you sincerely and help you as much as they can on your spiritual journey. Thirdly, attaining spirituality doesn't mean you have to forget your humanity. Instead, you should be embracing it. Embrace how fickle you are, how imperfect you are and embrace your mistakes. It will bring you closer to the spiritual person you want to become. Finally, be patient with yourself during your personal journey. Focus less on societal pressures and be more self-accountable.

    Posted by Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Communications & Public Affairs Manager, West Africa, Google.


    Helping African job seekers prepare for interviews

    Over the next five years, 300 million people will come online in Africa. Many of them are young, creative, and entrepreneurial, ready to drive new innovation and opportunity across the region. That’s why, in 2017, we committed to help 10 million Africans get the digital skills they need to grow their careers and businesses. So far, we’ve trained six million people through Grow With Google programs, including Google Career Certificates, which help people learn the skills they need to qualify for roles in fast-growing fields like data analytics, digital marketing & e-commerce, IT support, project management and UX design.

    But just as important as learning the skills to perform a new job, is learning the skills to land that job. This means knowing how to network, apply, build a resume and complete one of the most intimidating parts of a job search: the interview.

    Interviewing in a new field can be hard, especially if you don’t have access to friends, family or mentors in the field who can help you practise and prepare. That’s why we’ve been collaborating with job seekers to build a new tool called Interview Warmup. It lets you practise answering questions selected by industry experts, and it uses machine learning developed by Google Research to transcribe your answers and help you discover ways to improve. Preparing for interviews will always take a lot of work, but we hope this tool can make it a little easier for anyone to become more confident and grow comfortable with interviewing.

    On a white background, a waving hand emoji bounces next to text that reads “Hi! Let’s practise a job interview.” The view zooms out to show the interface of the Interview Warmup tool. A white pointer scrolls through six career fields, selects “IT Support” and is prompted to answer an interview question. The tool transcribes the user’s response and analyses it. The pointer clicks “most-used words,” highlighting words used multiple times. The pointer clicks one of those words to get suggestions about other words to use instead. The backdrop is plain white once more and text reading “Interview Warmup'' bounces on screen.

    With Interview Warmup, your answers are transcribed in real time so you can review what you said. You’ll also see insights: patterns detected by machine learning that can help you discover things about your answers, like the job-related terms you use and the words you say most often. It can even highlight the different talking points you cover in each answer, so you can see how much time you spend talking about areas like your experience, skills and goals. Your responses aren’t graded or judged and you can answer questions as many times as you want. It’s your own private space to practise, prepare and get comfortable.

    Interview Warmup was designed for Google Career Certificates learners, so it has question sets specific to each of the certificates. But it’s available for everyone to use and has general questions applicable to many fields. Every question has been created by industry experts. We’re sharing the tool in its early stages so we can get feedback from the community, find ways to improve it and expand it to be more helpful to more job seekers.

    We’re excited about tools like Interview Warmup because they show how new technologies have the potential to help more people practise the skills they need to grow their careers. Alongside programs like Google Career Certificates, Google Africa Developer Scholarships, and Digital Skills for Africa, these tools can help support the development of the African workforce and create more opportunities for African job seekers.

    Try Interview Warmup now at grow.google/interview-warmup.

    Posted by Mzamo Masito, Director, Marketing Sub-Saharan Africa


    Supporting African news organisations who are advancing media literacy

    Today, 72% of people surveyed in Kenya and Nigeria express concern about being exposed to false and misleading information. The interconnectedness of the spread of news and information today calls for each of us to play a role in advocating for media literacy.

    Our work at Google supports both journalists and fact-checking organisations who are doing the work to fight misinformation, and we help to create products and tools to help news consumers around the world better understand what they are seeing online.

    Today, we’re rolling out additional initiatives through the Google News Initiative (GNI) that will help African journalists and publishers to navigate the challenges and opportunities of changing news habits.

    Product Innovation
    Google is at its heart a technology company. We’ve invested in product features to support the fight against the spread of misinformation online and to advance media literacy. One example is About this Result, a feature in Search which provides critical context on a result before you visit the page, including how widely a source is circulated, whether a company is owned by another entity - all pieces of information that can provide important context.

    In Africa, we’re working with media lab Fathm (our partners in the UK) and publishers The Daily Maverick (South Africa), Premium Times (Nigeria) and The Standard Group (Kenya) to trial an entirely new way of delivering news to people across the continent. This pilot of ‘direct publishing’ will help innovative news outlets create interactive stories combining images, video and text and publishing them directly to users within the Android Messages app. The trial uses Android’s Rich Communication Service (RCS) to deliver news in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

    "Direct publishing is an exciting prospect that has the opportunity to enhance our brand of journalism,” said Styli Charalambous, CEO & Co-Founder of the Daily Maverick. “Digital offerings that go beyond passive consumption have the potential to elevate the service of journalism and attract new audiences. This project is innovative, with the potential to augment our offering and deliver on our mission. We jumped at the chance when asked."

    Fact Checking
    Africa Check was the first independent fact-checking organization established on the continent, and with support from Google they were able to both scale their training efforts across eastern Africa and help strengthen the local fact checking ecosystem. Africa Check will begin hosting ‘train the trainers’ fact-checking workshops, designed to improve the quality of information relied upon by millions of news consumers in Eastern Africa.

    "We train and mentor journalists in fact-checking to ensure that information shared with the wider public is accurate and verified,” said Dudu Mkhize, Head of Outreach at Africa Check. “Google will support our train-the-trainer programme to ensure that we have more trainers to train journalists across Africa, which will strengthen the information ecosystem on the continent as more journalists have the necessary skill to fact-check their reports."

    The trainers from this program will go on to support journalists working in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Angola, providing guidance on fact checking, verification tools and techniques.

    Additionally, equipping journalists with the digital skills to find, verify and tell news stories online is critical. That’s why Dubawa will train 500 journalists in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and The Gambia with support from the GNI. The workshops will focus on equipping journalists with the digital skills to find, verify and tell news stories online.

    “Our mission at CJID and Dubawa is to enable a West African media that promotes democratic accountability for sustainable development,” said Dr. Tobi Oluwatola, Executive Director at the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID). “We're excited that this partnership allows us to scale our fact checking and digital literacy capacity building to benefit hundreds of journalists across Anglophone West Africa.”

    Fact checking is critical even as information becomes more accessible globally. By supporting the ‘Africa Facts’ conference to be held in November in Nairobi, we want to help connect ideas and expert practitioners, and further strengthen fact checking across the continent.

    These new initiatives build on the media literacy training programme, WebRangers, that we facilitate with Media Monitoring Africa, focused on training teens in South Africa on how to identify and report misinformation.

    We believe the future of news across Africa is bright and support for it is critical. We are eager to continue finding ways to connect people to relevant and quality news across the region.

    Posted by Dorothy Ooko, 
    Head of Communications & Public Affairs, Google, Africa


    Preserving one of Nigeria’s last sacred groves

    Editor's note:

    The Honorable Minister of Information and Culture for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, authors this piece in which he talks about the new Osun Osogbo project by Google Arts and Culture, in collaboration with CyArk and the Adunni Olorisha Trust / Osun Foundation  Redefining, which exhibits this sacred UNESCO World Heritage Site and makes it accessible to everyone online.


    On the forested banks of the Osun river in Osogbo, Nigeria lies one of the last cultural sites of its kind. In this sacred grove, Yoruba deities are embodied in shapely, sculpted shrines and creativity and spirituality come to life. The Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove is a truly unique and special place.

    I’m truly delighted that, for the first time ever, the shrine and its surroundings have been digitized thanks to a collaboration between CyArk, Adunni Olorisa Trust/Osun Foundation and Google Arts & Culture. Now both are protected for posterity, so anybody from anywhere can explore them.

    I said when I visited in 2019 that it was important to refocus national and global attention on this site, and I’m glad we achieved our purpose. For even though this place of active worship and art is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and priceless cultural asset, it is in danger of destruction. Flooding and heavy rain due to climate change, along with a number of other risks to conservation, threaten the groves’ survival.

    This is why CyArk and the Adunni Olorisha Trust / Osun Foundation partnered with Google Arts & Culture to digitize the shrines and surroundings at Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove – and to tell the stories of its spiritual, artistic and cultural significance. In 2019, the grove’s Busanyin Shrine was wrecked in a flood; the 3D imagery captured in the early phases of the project were among the last images to be taken of the site before it was destroyed. So while this project may not stop the impact of flooding or the activities of land grabbers, it will ensure that future generations can see it as it is today.

    “CyArk's work in Osogbo has been a true collaboration between Nigerian government officials, local NGOs, the community of Osogbo and His royal highness Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun Larooye II, who have partnered with CyArk and are working together to share the stories of Osogbo with a wider audience.” - Kacey Hadick, Director of Programs and Development, CyArk.

    Although this flood was a devastating loss, it reinforces the importance of using a variety of tools to preserve the world’s cultural and spiritual places, from digital documentation to on-site restoration work. And this project highlights the broad spectrum of preservation that, in this case, can help protect a rich Yoruba cultural heritage – through 3D models, Street View, archival and contemporary photographs, video and audio interviews and written stories.

    Olufemi A. Akinsanya Akinsanya is Chair of the Save Our Art! Save Our Heritage! Campaign. He says, “We want to expose the world to this incredible Yoruba heritage and art treasure, introduce the remarkable artists of the New Sacred Art Movement who saved it from destruction in the 1960’s and champion the next generation who are preserving it now.”

    While a virtual experience of the site can never replace the real thing, we invite you to get lost in the Sacred Grove of Osun Osogbo and experience its art, culture, and preservation like never before on Google Arts & Culture.

    This work forms part of the Google Arts & Culture Heritage on the Edge project, which tells of how people around the world are using technology to help protect cultural sites against the effects of climate change.

    Google Arts & Culture and CyArk have collaborated with cultural heritage site managers to carry out similar digitization training sessions. Learn more about the stories of five other cultural sites impacted by climate change in Scotland, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Peru and Rapa Nui.

    Posted by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Federal Republic of Nigeria


    Voice typing for African languages

    For many people, using your voice to dictate text messages, emails and other text-based communications is easier and more accessible than typing on a keyboard. Voice typing (i.e. using your voice to dictate text) is currently not available for most of the 2,000+ languages spoken in Africa. In recent years, more data for African languages has become widely available, paving the way for this technology to become a reality for many more languages. As part of our commitment to serve Africa and its languages, we are excited to announce the release of voice typing for 9 more African languages.
    • isiNdebele
    • isiXhosa
    • Kinyarwanda
    • Northern Sotho
    • Swati
    • Sesotho
    • Tswana
    • Tshivenda
    • Xitsonga

    Along with the four African languages we already support: Afrikaans, Amharic, Swahili and Zulu, this release brings voice typing support to 13 African languages, and 80 languages total around the world.

    This development would not have been possible without two key advances in the state of the art for automatic speech recognition. The first advance is related to AI models for speech recognition. We employed a technique known as multilingual modeling, which uses data from multiple languages to train a single speech recognition model. This method allows the languages with less data to benefit from those with more data, to improve quality for all the languages. The second advance is related to data. In the last few years, communities, individuals and organizations have created and open sourced high quality datasets for African languages. 

    The languages launching today are possible thanks in part to the efforts of researchers and organizations in Africa to create and publish data (see our paper for the data we used for each language). In particular, we’d like to thank the creators of the NCHLT corpus for South African languages, without which many of the South African languages launching today would not have been possible. We’d also like to thank Digital Umuganda for their work in creating the Kinyarwanda corpus and publishing it on Mozilla Common Voice, one of the largest resources ever created for an African language. 

    Google is also working to collect data for more African languages, through our TaskMate and Crowdsource platforms, and we have partnered with universities and researchers on data collection projects, for example our work with the Bambara community and the Waxal speech data project.

    Wherever you want to type, whether it’s a message, an email, or posting on social media, try voice typing on your Android device with Gboard. It’s quick, easy and faster for your friends to read than a voice note :)

    Get set up on Gboard: 

    Posted by Sandy Ritchie, Linguist in the Speech Recognition team