Google has just launched three new SMS services geared specifically towards Africa: Search, Trade and Tips. There are already plenty of SMS Google services available in North America and elsewhere, but Africans’ needs require a little bit of tweaking. Tips, which can be accessed by texting 6001, is broken down into three subections: Clinc Finder pulls up a list of services and the phone number of nearby clinics; Health Tips focuses mainly on sexual health; and Farmer’s Friend helps with planting advice and dealing with pests. Trader is an interesting new option that basically works like Craigslist – you can search for, buy and sell goods entirely by SMS. Since they’re gearing these services primarily towards developing contries with limited internet access, this reminds me a lot of Nokia Life Tools, and will hopefully do just as well. MTN Uganda is the only supporting carrier right now, but with any luck, it’ll spread across the continent. To get started with Google Africa’s SMS tools.
[via Official Google Blog]