Offering Google a much-needed Bahasa boost

Offering Google a much-needed Bahasa boost

JAKARTA - The popularity of Google is hard to deny, with its search engine earning the nickname "Mbah Google" for helping people find answers to life's pressing questions, whether tough or simple one like which restaurant to take a date to.

However, Google says that users can aid the digital Mbah, or sage, in providing answers by simply playing a more active role in providing content, especially in Bahasa Indonesia.

"Based on our indexes, the percentage of all content available in Bahasa Indonesia on the Internet a year ago was less than 1 per cent," said Amy Kunrojpanya, Google's head of communications and public affairs for Indonesia and Greater Mekong.

Although the percentage of content available in Bahasa Indonesia has risen since then, the paucity of local language content means that Indonesian Internet users are still "not represented the way they should be online".

"For a [national] population and Internet population of this size, the people online using Bahasa as their primary language are under-represented," she noted.

Indonesia has a population of 250 million people, of which 82 million, or equivalent to 33 per cent, are Internet users, data from the Communications and Information Ministry shows.

The ministry added that this figure places Indonesia the eight-largest Internet population in the world.

Kunrojpanya further said that in order to reverse this under-representation, the country's Internet users needed to generate local content themselves.

"When one in three people are online, you will start to have a volume of people putting information out there and, likewise, people searching for that information. It is a supply and demand situation," she added.

One way to boost beneficial, local content is by getting more small businesses to have an online presence, be it through a website, blog or even social page.

"So many small businesses are not represented online when, in fact, they are the backbone of every country," Kunrojpanya pointed out.

Indonesia's small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have consistently supplemented more than 50 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), thereby bolstering the economy from global crises.

"When the Internet population reaches over 30 per cent, you will start to see a link between the information put out there and the economy," she added.

According to Kunrojpanya, once small businesses have an online presence, Google can pull all their information together and present it in the knowledge graph of its results page.

The knowledge graph is a panel of information sitting at the top of the results page. The graph presents key information regarding the searched query. If a user has entered the name of a cafe, for instance, then the panel will feature key information connected to the cafe, such as the address and telephone number.

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