This morning, Google held an exclusive meeting in its Dubai headquarters to announce the launch of its new Ramadan features and they certainly don’t disappoint.
The first major introduction for the Holy Month is a new search algorithm that, once a user types in a Ramadan-related keyword, will bring all necessary information to the main search page including prayer timings (in your time zone) and recipes for Suhoor and Iftar. It will also direct users to its augmented reality-enabled Qibla Finder. First introduced in 2017, the 2018 Qibla Finder allows users, whether online or offline, to detect the direction of Qibla from their current location. This year, the Finder has also been updated to allow Android users to add a direct shortcut to the function on their home screens.
The second major introduction is that of a web-based application called Qalam. The website allows users to create custom Ramadan and Eid greetings to send to their family and friends, no matter where they are in the world. Most excitingly, the brand has teamed up with nine regional artists and calligraphists to create more than 35 artworks.
Soraya Syed, one of Pakistan’s first female calligraphers, and eL Seed, who recently collaborated with Farfetch on their Middle Eastern launch, are amongst the artists chosen for the collaboration. The application merges virtual reality with calligraphy, as demonstrated by eL Seed this morning as he created an artwork live on screen whilst wearing virtual reality goggles.
Both updates were conceived after the company noticed a spike in searches for Qibla and Ramadan Kareem greetings through the search engine during the Holy Month.
Both services are now live.