by Joseph Appiah-Dolphyne and Kent Mensah, AfricaNews
Google literally brought Accra – the capital of Ghana in West Africa – to a standstill with the public launch of its new product Google Trader. It is a free online classifieds service that allows Ghanaians to buy and sell products and services, as well as search for jobs or just about anything else.
The service seems to be catching on fast with traders in the capital in particular as some have already listed items from livestock to stationery. “I’m actually surprised this is for free and I can just do it with a touch of the button on my cell phone,” Kofi Baah, a secondhand clothing seller at the Makola Market – the largest shopping centre in Ghana – told AfricaNews.
“This is incredible. You mean I can really advertise my coconut selling business on the net?” Stephen Agyapong, a coconut seller at Osu queried after he was handed a handout explaining how the service works.
“I’ll give it a try definitely,” he promised. According to Google, Trader can be used by anyone in Ghana, but is expected to have the biggest uptake in major towns and cities across the country. “Individuals can post short ads to buy and sell items and services, whilst businesses of any size can also use the site to reach more customers and increase their sales,” a statement read.
The Ghana launch took the crew through Makola, Kwame Nkrumah Circle lorry park, the Oxford street of Osu where the public was spellbound with a professionally crafted chorographic antics that would eventually be transformed into a video clip for the online community.
The Country Lead for Google Ghana Estelle Akofio-Sowah could not hide her excitement as she watched the large crowd that took a brief break from their daily activities to take a glimpse of the flashmob.
She said: “We are excited about Trader because its free, easy to use, and locally relevant. Having a web version, a mobile web version and an SMS option means that Trader is accessible to everyone, no matter where you are.”
To make sure that Trader is easily accessible to users across Ghana, Google has partnered with AIRTEL and TIGO to offer a FREE SMS option. Users can subscribe by texting START to 6007 on any Airtel or Tigo phone and can start posting and selling straight away.