Google Go is a lightweight version of Google’s search app and has been officially made available for all users worldwide. It was initially launched in 2017 after tons of beta testing. The primary reason for designing this app was to use it in emerging markets where people are often accessing the internet for the first time on unstable connections through the medium of low-end Android devices.

Just as many of the “Lite” versions of apps that are built for emerging markets, in the same way Google Go acquired less space on phones. The app is barely over 7MB. It includes offline features that help those with slow and intermittent internet connections.

The search results of this app have been optimized to save up to 40% data, as claimed by Google.

Apart from web search, the app also includes other discovery features like the ability to tap through trending topics, voice search, image and GIF search, seamless switching between languages, and a wonderful accessibility feature where you can have web pages read aloud, powered by AI.

Google had also planned to bring Google Lens to the app.

The power of Google Lens is that it allows users to point their smartphone camera at real-world objects while the underlying mechanism brings up relevant information for the user on their mobile screen.

Pertaining to this feature, in Google Go, the Lens feature will aid users who struggle to read. Once the user points the camera at text — like a bus schedule, sign or bank form, for example — the ability of Lens allows it to read the text out loud, highlighting the words as they are spoken.

It also gives users the ability to simply tap on a particular word to learn its definition or have the text translated.

Google Lens was a meagre 100KB addition to the app going by what Google said. But the updates to the Go app since launch have increased over time. Initially, it was a 5MB app. Now, it’s a little more than 7MB.

Google Go was only available in a few countries on Android Go edition devices. According to data from Sensor Tower, it was installed approximately 17.5 million times globally, with the largest percentage of users in India 48 percent. The next largest markets were Indonesia 16 percent, Brazil 14 percent, Nigeria 6 percent and South Africa 4 percent.

The Google Go app, in its entirely has been made official and available to 29 countries on Android Go edition devices. They include: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Just recently, according to Google, it was made available to all users worldwide on the Play Store.

The reason Google decided to launch the app globally, along with the markets where bandwidth is not a concern at all, is because Google senses that everyone at times can struggle with problems like limited phone storage or unstable connections.

On top of that, the app is lightweight for reading and translating text. At Google I/O, the tech giant had noted there are more than 800 million adults worldwide who struggle to read. And, not all are located in emerging markets where they can benefit out of android  app development tools.


Google Go is among many lightweight apps that Google has built for emerging markets, they include but are not limited to YouTube Go, Files Go, Gmail Go, Google Maps Go, Gallery Go and Google Assistant Go. The app will be available on the Play Store to global users running Android Lollipop or higher. Meanwhile, do you have an idea for your own lightweight app for emerging markets? Get in touch with a reputed Android app development company and reach a global audience.

Albert Smith is a Tech Consulting Manager with Hidden Brains, a leading IT company specializing in enterprise web application development, mobile apps, IoT, Cloud and Big Data services. He provides valuable insights to help tech companies, startups and large enterprises build their brand.