HYDERABAD: Growing up, all it required was a trip to the local paan shop to get juicy tidbits and news about sundry business enterprises around the neighbourhood. The enquiries would be varied – Is there any tailor who alters blouses? Where has the cobbler who used to sit under the banyan tree gone? Is there any Maths teacher nearby who can save my son from failing in the subject this year too?
With life becoming much faster and vanishing leisure time, the trips to the paan shop have decreased, but the questions have remained. And here is where Google’s Neighbourly app comes into picture. The app aims to find answers to all types of local questions - be it shopping, fitness inquires, food recommendations or tuition centres. Speaking about the same, Ben Fohner, product manager of Google’s
Next Billion User team, said: “People nearby often have the best information you need, but they are too busy these days to stop and chat on the street or in the park. Group chats keep getting bigger and noisier, and fill up with those “Good Morning” messages. Neighbourly provides an easy, simple way to connect people experiencing change to nearby local experts.” Thus the app helps you do three things - ask your neighbours questions, share your local expertise and keep up with your neighbourhood.Talking about the safety features of the app, Fohner said, “The contact details of the users are not shown in the app. It also doesn’t let other users enlarge profile pictures to take screenshots. Relevant answers are chosen on the basis of ratings, and abusive content can be reported.”
After a successful launch in Mumbai and Jaipur, the beta version of Neighbourly is now available on the Google Play Store for all smartphones in Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Mysore, Vizag, and Kota running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) and higher. The app is around 5MB in size and has offline functionality. In addition to English, Neighbourly works across eight regional languages: Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, and Malayalam.