Google today launched TaskMate in Kenya, a crowdsourcing app that allows people to use smartphones to complete tasks and get paid, tapping into the growing gig economy. The tech giant said it has rolled out the beta after a year-long experience in the East African country and is preparing to introduce it to other countries on the continent. The app is also available in India, where it is also in pilot phase.
Users of the TaskMate mobile app perform skilled and unskilled tasks such as translating or photographing for businesses – which are approved by Google to post on the platform – around the world.
TaskMate joins a growing list of apps and services launched by Google that offer people payment for services performed. They include a rewards app that allows people to get paid to fill out surveys and ads for local services that connect businesses, for a fee, to customers in their neighborhood.
“Today we launched TaskMate, and this is the first time we are opening it in Africa and globally,” said Mike Knapp, TaskMate Product Manager.
The pilot started in Kenya late last year, and users were able to perform a variety of tasks, including taking photos of plants for a research project conducted by Penn State University. App concerts are defined as seated or field tasks.
“We went to a pilot phase where 1,000 people used the app, and they gave very positive feedback. And now we have moved into the beta phase. And we’re really experimenting on a bigger level at this point, ”Knapp said.
“And we’re looking for companies and startups to come and experiment with us on the platform, to see how it can help them solve the tough issues they’re working on,” he said.
Companies that publish tasks on the platform have the option of making them available to a small group of people or can invite specific people to perform them. TaskMate users in Kenya withdraw their earned money through the M-Pesa mobile payment platform, operated by Safaricom, the largest telecommunications company in the East Africa region.
“It’s a crowdsourcing platform that simplifies the distribution and accomplishment of business tasks, for businesses and organizations. It is also an app that provides opportunities for Kenyans whether it is to develop a community or to earn additional taxes. This is Google’s commitment to build for and with Africa, and its digital transformation journey, ”he said.
The launch came as Google announced that it had disbursed $ 10 million in loans to help small businesses in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa jumpstart the economy through the pandemic of COVID. Google disburses the loans through Kiva, a San Francisco-based nonprofit lending organization. The funding is part of the billion dollars that he announced a fortnight ago, he will invest in Africa.
Google’s investment will include an undersea cable, which will cross South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and Saint Helena, connecting Africa and Europe. It will deliver a faster internet and create around 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and South Africa by 2025 as the digital economy grows, they said.
Africa’s digital economy is expected to grow as integration continues, providing new opportunities for growth as more people go online. In sub-Saharan Africa, around 303 million, or 28% of the population, are currently connected to mobile internet according to the 2021 GSMA report on the mobile economy. This number is expected to grow to around 40% by 2025, providing a larger market for internet companies and services such as TaskMate that tap into internet connectivity and Africa’s young population.