Google through the newly launched Product Development Centre in Nairobi is set to hire over 100 software engineers from diverse backgrounds across Africa.
The development center will give local developers an opportunity to innovate starting with product ideas to actualization thereby enabling Africa to have products that reflect their needs.
Head of Product Inclusion and Equity at Google Annie Jean-Baptiste said that the process will focus on four main pillars, ideation, user research, testing (adversarial machine learning) and marketing.
“As a global company, we look at creating products that reflect our footprint,” Jean-Baptiste said.
“No longer will our products be made in America for the world but we are cascading that to our other offices to ensure our products reflect the needs on the ground,” she said.
Google, which announced plans to put up the Nairobi developer hub, has since announced plans to hire 100 software engineers who will work as a think tank for upcoming product ideas from across Africa.
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“We look forward to improving our current products by continually raising the bar on products with a focus on respecting the user.
“To understand our users better, we are committed to building a workforce that is more representative of our users and a workplace that creates a sense of belonging for everyone,” she added.
The program will give a particular focus on special interest groups and marginalized groups as research has shown that creating products for people with various disabilities helps improve the overall experience users have.
“We want to make sure that underrepresented voices are being heard throughout the product development process—this means providing input in the early stages of product ideation, prototyping, user research, UX design and marketing—all the way to launch,” she added.
“By doing this, we can create products that perform better and are more relevant and useful globally,” she noted.
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To enhance the suitability of all products, Jean-Baptiste added that Google is now working with internal and external product champions to test all new products before they are released for public consumption.
“Google wants to collaborate. Google is open to discussion, asking for feedback, and wants to work with partners to develop product solutions and smart regulations. We’re working collaboratively to build a privacy-first, pro-consumer future that works for everyone,” stated Jean-Baptiste.
“Privacy is good for business. Businesses who put privacy first build better relationships and trust with their customers.”
The new product development center seeks to create transformative products and services for people in Africa and around the world. The center is looking for talented, creative people who can help solve difficult and important technical challenges.