On 12th November 2013, Google Bus (an educational outreach program promoted by Google) was launched in Dhaka’s street. Though, the service began in the early 2000s, it took more than a decade to arrive in a developing country like Bangladesh. The Bangladesh version of Google Bus program was intended to teach students of various colleges and universities in this country. Few days ago, Google Bus reached my University Campus at Dhaka. I was among those who experienced this educational program.
Well, my experience was mixed. Days before it was launched local newspapers of Bangladesh aggressively publicized the event. Thus, it created a lot of buzz among the youngsters who try to keep themselves up-to-date about technology. I personally admire what Google offered us. I expected that the Google Bus journey would be amazing. But alas! It was not, at least, in my case.
We were told that the ‘experts’ of Google Bus would teach us about various important aspects and elements of web-technology. But I learned nothing but Google’s several services that are comparatively less known. It seemed that Google had launched Google Bus program not to teach students internet but to publicize its unpopular services or parts of services in a particular region. I and other students were briefed about several parts of Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Sites, Google Plus, Google Books, etc. Those, whom we were told as ‘experts’, were actually some other students who had somehow involved with some of Google’s local programs. I guessed they had also previously been briefed what to tell and ask the visitors. I doubted whether they had efficient practical knowledge about those services, and should have been termed as ‘experts’. Anyways, after getting briefed, we were asked some questions. The winners were awarded some ‘rubber bracelets’ on which Google logo was printed! Impressive! I presumed that the winners would certainly be inspired a lot!
I expected much more than what they delivered. I thought they would talk with us about web technologies of the future that are supposed to change the world. I wanted to hear about what Google might bring in the next years, or about the then-newly launched Android 5.0 Lollipop that had been released few days before the Google Bus event took place. But the whole things were not what I thought.
One of the reasons behind Google’s such policy might be the lack of pro-internet users in Bangladesh. Asking about introducing 3G in Bangladesh, a local head official of one of the largest mobile operators in Bangladesh once said the people of this country had “just learned how to dial number in mobile phone“. However, almost 2 years after his comment, 3G was introduced in Bangladesh. I wondered how a nation learned use of 3G internet after 2 years from the day they had just learned how to dial numbers in mobile phone!
Google Bangladesh might also think that the people had just learned the use of internet and they would take much time to become ‘pro-users’. They might think Bangladeshi students still ‘confuse Internet with Facebook’. I would like to say, No! They are intelligent enough to understand what Internet actually is. Rather, I would like to suggest Google Bangladesh officials to launch something new that will be both educational and helpful. It should not only be intended to publicize own services but to educate students that may help them in their future journeys. I would like to urge them to change the way they think about Bangladeshi people.