Nigerian drivers now have the opportunity to hear route tips with a Nigerian accent when using Google Maps.
The tech giant unveiled new features on Wednesday with local accents also available on Google Assistant. This is the company’s first initiative to offer such a service in Africa as it seeks to attract more users to the continent.
Until now, Nigerians have had to deal with Google’s travel tips with an American accent, which had trouble pronouncing local names such as Lagos’s route Alfred Rewane – which the virtual assistant pronounced rather like Alfred Re-wain (Ri-wayi-ne). Nor could he pronounce the suburb of Oworonshoki.
When tested by some Nigerians, they were surprised to hear an “accent that resembled them”, according to comments on social networks.
Google has indicated that in the coming months, the map feature will also allow Lagos users to search for directions on what it calls “informal transit” – like the yellow minibusses, known as Danfo, that roam Almost all the roads in the commercial capital, but it is difficult for foreigners, or even Lagosians traveling to a new neighborhood, to find information.