It is often challenging to find relevant African content on the web as very few people on the continent are active on the Internet. The problem, really, is that the Internet is not readily accessible to potential active users. In a previous blog post, I mused about the difficulty of finding relevant Ghanaian content on the web.
This may soon be a thing of the past as Google has launched a new Question and Answer website aimed at gathering African content dubbed Google Baraza. This website is great since it gives you the opportunity to ask for any information that you cannot find through regular search. If you're an expert in a particular field, you can also answer the pressing questions of other Baraza users, to the benefit of the entire community. To effectively use the tool, you can subscribe to certain labels or direct your questions to specific subject matter experts. Google rewards active Baraza users by giving them points, which enables them to rise in reputation ranking.
I've played with Baraza a little. Yesterday, I posed a question: "which radio station in Ghana has the best educational content?" A couple of Baraza users are offering useful suggestions, and it looks like a tight race. Some people are also asking really interesting questions on Baraza such as "why does Africa still lag behind despite all the resources it is endowed with?" and "where can I get dog meat Khebab in Accra?" Haha. There's room for everyone on Baraza. :). All the questions asked and their respective answers are searchable using the main Google search engine. Hopefully, it should be searchable through other search engines.
Baraza is not the only Q & A site from Google. They have similar products for Russian and Arabic speakers. Also, Aadvark reported recently that they have joined Google. They are really doing well to get content from everywhere onto the web so that it is made available to all.
This evening, from 6:30 pm at AITI-KACE, GhanaBlogging and Google will be hosting a networking event to discuss Google Baraza and local content with a cross-section of Ghana's Internet community. This is amazing opportunity for people to explore ways through which they can contribute to web content and the benefits therein.
Google Baraza is a welcome solution to the dearth of local content in Africa. Try it for yourself and get your questions answered!