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[liberationtech] Searching Google, Where Internet Access is Scarce

Yosem Companys ycompanys at gmail.com
Tue Jul 28 08:45:28 PDT 2009


>From Slashdot:

Internet searching means that finding information mundane, obscure, or
fantastically useful is just a few keystrokes away — but not if you're
without a connection to the Internet (or can't read), both the norm for many
of the world's poor. itwbennett <http://www.itworld.com/> writes*"Rose
Shuman developed a contraption for this under-served population called Question
Box <http://www.questionbox.org/> that is essentially a one-step-removed
Internet search<http://wireless.itworld.com/internet/70594/searching-where-google-can-t>:
'A villager presses a call button on a physical intercom device, located in
their village, which connects them to a trained operator in a nearby town
who's sitting in front of a computer attached to the Internet. A question is
asked. While the questioner holds, the operator looks up the answer on the
Internet and reads it back. All questions and answers are logged. For the
villager there is no keyboard to deal with. No complex technology. No
literacy issues.' This week, Jon Gosier, of
Appfrica<http://appfrica.net/blog/>,
launched a web site called World Wants to
Know<http://appfrica2.com/qbox/index.html> that
displays the QuestionBox questions being asked in real time. As Jon put it,
it's allowing 'searching where Google can't.' And providing remarkable
insight into the real information needs of off-the-grid populations."*
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