Alvin R. Cabral
FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of laptop and mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Google logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration. Photo cropped from original.
The holy month of Ramadan is around the corner, and as with any important occasion, Google's about to handle another massive spike in related activity.
So, the Internet titan decided to throw in a few tricks to make it easier for users to get the information they need during the period.
The Alphabet unit on Sunday announced a new feature to its search function during Ramadan, which brings information related to the month-long occasion to the main results page once users search using Ramadan-related keywords.
Typing queries related to Ramadan into Google Search will result in users being able to access all relevant information worldwide, including local prayer times, tips and even popular recipes on YouTube.
Google also unveiled a new product that merges between virtual reality and calligraphy, as people around the world prepare to observe the holy month.
"As more than a billion people prepare for Ramadan, we too at Google have been working to help our users as they begin to adapt to the month-long occasion," Najeeb Jarrar, marketing manager at Google for the Middle East and North Africa, said at a Press event in Dubai on Sunday.
"This year, we've put together a few special experiences across Google to help people get the most out of the occasion, like bringing you the most relevant information right to your Search results or a new way to share Ramadan greetings that was made using virtual reality technology."
The updates, Google says, are reflective of digital habits during Ramadan. Google Trends data shows a spike in interest in 'Qibla' and 'Ramadan Kareem greetings' at the beginning and throughout the holy month. As for Search queries, internal Google data shows that the volume of queries conducted during Ramadan is higher than other monthly averages as people spend more time online.
Furthermore, links to Google's main Ramadan services, the Qibla Finder and Qalam, will also be shown.
The Qibla Finder, an app launched last year that uses augmented reality on Android devices to identify the direction of the Qibla, will now be available even while offline. The update also allows Android users to add a shortcut to app on their home screen.
Qalam, Google's newest offering, is a browser app with which users can share greetings made from VR and calligraphy. Google worked with 9 world-renowned artists and calligraphists to create over 35 artworks which merge between virtual reality art and calligraphy.
"From augmented reality in Qibla Finder to virtual reality in Qalam, we brought Google's innovation to your fingertips this Ramadan," Jarrar added.
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