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Google launches local discovery and community app Neighbourly in India

Sohini Mitter
1st Jun 2018
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Neighbourly is a crowdsourcing app that helps people ask questions, submit answers, and follow other people’s questions through a swipeable stack of cards. 

In a bid to extend its localisation efforts in India, Google has rolled out a new app - Neighbourly - that connects local questions with local answers. The beta version of the app has launched in one city (Mumbai) for now, but will be taken to other Indian cities and neighbourhoods in future, Google announced.

Neighbourly allows users to get their neighbourhood-related questions answered on an open chat forum. The app tracks the user’s GPS location to connect them to their neighbourhood after sign-up. All Q&As can be browsed through in the form of swipeable cards ala Tinder and Cake Browser.

Image: Google India

Users can either have their queries answered or ‘tap to help’ if they want to provide an answer. Google has made answering questions simple by allowing both text and voice entries in the user’s preferred language. All questions can be answered without having to share private details like phone number, full name, and other contact information.

“Your profile only contains a small profile picture and your first name — the only information your community will see or find when you ask a question or share an answer. And your neighbour can never message you directly,” Google wrote in the app description on Play Store.

Users can be passive consumers too, and simply swipe through the entries without participating. Google believes that with the app, even the biggest of cities can become a lot more “neighbourly” and familiar to those who do not belong there. It enables a “human, helpful, local way to ask and answer questions” and allows people make their “neighbourhood better, together”.

Caesar Sengupta, VP of Google’s Next Billion Users Team, stated,

“In cities across India, it’s getting harder to get good answers to these questions because cities keep changing, including the people who live there. People nearby often have the exact information you need, but they’re too busy these days to stop and chat on the street or in the park… With Neighbourly, your questions get routed to relevant neighbours instantly, and then they can write back with the most up-to-date and accurate info.”

Neighbourly is compatible with Android phones running on Jelly Bean (4.3) and above. The beta app listed under the ‘Travel & Local’ section of Play Store has notched up about a 100 downloads in a day. That will go up as more neighbourhoods and cities are added to the platform.

“If you live outside Mumbai, join our waitlist and invite your neighbours. We’ll be looking to expand to other neighbourhoods across India that are excited to try Neighbourly,” Google said.

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