Most mobile devices in Africa only have voice and SMS capabilities, and Google is focusing its technological efforts in Africa on SMS. On June 29, 2009 Google announced Google SMS, a suite of mobile applications which will allow people to access information, via SMS, on a diverse number of topics including health and agriculture tips, news, local weather, sports, and more.
The suite also included Google Trader, a SMS-based “marketplace” application that helps buyers and sellers find each other. People can find, “sell” or “buy” any type of product or service, from used cars and mobile phones to crops, livestock and jobs.
In the summer of 2009 Google launched Google Trader in Uganda, a free classifieds service that allows people to buy and sell products and services, search for jobs or just about anything else they are looking for. Learning from that launch, about 18 months later, Google Trader was launched in Ghana, on Thursday, December 2, 2010.
Even though Google Trader Ghana has very much improved its design and functionality since December 2010, it remains in beta status.
To get started on Google Trader Ghana:
- Text “START” to 6007.
- To search for listings: Send a text message to the number 6007. This message must start with the word “BUY” followed by the keywords you would like to search for. For example, to search for electronics, you would send a message reading “BUY” electronics” to 6007.
- To register with Google Trader: To post a listing via SMS, you will first need to create a Google Trader profile. To do this, send the word “REGISTER” to 6007. Once registered, you can post as many listings as you like.
- To post a listing: Send a message beginning with the word “SELL” and then describe the listing, the price, your location, and a way to contact you, to the number 6007. If you don’t include a phone number or email address in your post, Google Trader will automatically add the mobile number of the phone with which you created the listing at the end of your post.