Building new products for different cultures and people can be a complex task. It requires in-depth research efforts and a highly structured way of solving product questions. You have to take a lot of different things into consideration.
In a recent event, Joris van Mens talked about how they do this at Google.
Product Manager at Google
Joris van Mens is Amsterdam born Product Manager at Google, where he is focused on building new technology for users in emerging markets. Prior to being a Product Manager, he was a financial analyst and account manager at Google. He holds an MSc in Economics from the University of Amsterdam and studies Artificial Intelligence at Stanford in his spare time.
How to solve cultural problems when building products?
In this event, Joris explained how Google’s product teams solve problems related to building products for different cultures and what they have learned about building new products at Google. He also talked about what he does exactly on a daily basis and how they do research at Google.
Google’s “Next Billion Users” effort aims to build better Google products for emerging markets. It does so by adapting current products to fit better the needs, and environment of these users, and by building new products from the ground up specifically tailored for users in such markets. Joris shared some tips for building new products.
- Figure out where the users are.
- Use what you’ve learned.
- Internet growth is happening everywhere.
- A huge number of new online users are coming from India and China.
- Hundreds of millions of Chrome on Android users are from next billion user countries.
- What have they learned at Google? A lot of the smartphone users in India run out of storage space every day, 50% of the users in India are on 2G, “free” apps are expensive in India due to data fees etc.
- Google’s intention is to remove download barriers, optimize for speed and build for intermittent connectivity.
- Speak many languages while trying to think what the users might want.
- Google’s solution for connection issues; the dinosaur game, getting the search results at a later time, download later, etc.
- Research: get out there, experience the market and set research goals. Do field interviews, visit markets and universities, aim for diverse demographic and share summaries of the findings.
- When doing the research get scheduled participants for long in office interviews and test the products live.
- Research tip: immerse. Use guesthouses, stay more in local places, eat local, go to places where the locals are and use local technology.
China and India are huge markets that are growing rapidly but they are very different culturally. It’s very important to understand the people and the life over there to be able to build better products for their needs. Knowing what to expect can provide you with crucial information and help the building process.
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