Google's Neighbourly app that has become newly available in Bengaluru and Delhi is your friendly neighbourhood hero on the smartphone, bringing you information of the most local nature right when you need it.
This information is as reliable as what one gets from the favourite uncle next-door or the vegetable vendor at the street corner.
More than 1.5 million users have already downloaded the hyper-local app developed by Google's Next Billion Users team in Bengaluru since it first became available in Mumbai and Jaipur. Another 500,000 are waiting for the download to become available in their cities.
The app premiered in Mumbai and Jaipur and soon went online in more cities including Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Mysore, Vizag, and Kota.
For now, it's available only on Android in English and eight Indian languages.
Users have given the app a 5-star rating and vouch by its ease of use. No question is deemed too small for the app, be it the vendor who sells the freshest vegetables nearby or the best neurosurgeon to consult in town.
Google claims the app can deliver the "most up-to-date and accurate info" as they are shared by "relevant neighbours" in real time.
Indications are that the app has lived up to the hype at the time of its launch earlier this year. Caesar Sengupta, VP, Next Billion Users Team at Google, had then said: "In cities across India, it's getting harder to get good answers to these questions because cities keep changing, including the people who live there. People nearby often have the exact information you need, but they're too busy these days to stop and chat on the street or in the park… That's why we built Neighbourly, a neighbourhood app that helps you ask your neighbours questions, share local expertise, and keep up with your neighbourhood."
The simple concept is that there is information available locally about every sphere of human activity and there are people who need such information at any given time. What the app does is bring them together on a real-time basis. Of course, it maintains absolute privacy and the users do not know each other because the app does not require the users to log in.
The app is a great avenue for the Good Samaritans among us to help others. Google says that there are some neighbours, who answer up to 100 questions a week.
Google officials say they hope that Indians will find the app as an everyday use utility.
Here's how you go about using Neighbourly:
The first step is to log in to Google Play store and download and install the Neighbourly app.
The app displays on the first name and any profile picture you choose. The email id is hidden.
Enable location for Neighbourly app on the mobile phone settings. This helps the app match queries and answers for your specific neighbourhood.
Go to the settings and choose the preferred language.
Now you can choose to type in a query or reply to one that a neighbour has posed.