With over a billion people, India is certainly an important target market for Google. In that regard, over the last year, Google has launched several India-focused apps, such as Tez for enabling mobile payments and Areo, for sourcing services and ordering food. With Neighbourly, Google is really targeting the grass-roots level, enabling users to leverage local expertise, connect with other people and access information about places and events in their community, quickly, safely and easily.
The app, which is currently for Android only, supports English and eight Indian languages, using either text or voice input. The material-themed interface is aesthetically pleasing and simple to navigate. Questions can be viewed by swiping to left or right, with answers appearing below. You can also follow incoming replies to questions asked by other people, similar to the ones you want to ask.
Google has also implemented anti-abuse countermeasures to ensure that the app is used for its intended purpose, allowing users to flag inappropriate posts and curtail off-topic discussions. Users are not required to provide their full names or phone numbers, which should allay any privacy concerns. Finally, the app tries to foster responsible behavior and a sense of community by requiring users to sign a ‘Neighbourly Promise’, before granting them access.
For now, the app is in beta and only available to users in Mumbai, India. Support for more communities is expected in the near future.