H3 How much is access to information worth?
May 29, 2019
YouTube in Egypt
June 28, 2019

The use of the internet – and through it Google’s products – has exploded in recent years in Egypt. From just 1% of people being online in 2000, 53.5% of the Egyptian population now use the internet and 43% of those aged 15 and above use a smartphone.

Of course, Egyptian internet users have a wide range of products and companies to choose from to search for information, watch interesting content, and support their working lives. But we find that once they get online, Egyptians tend to use Google products – 99% have used Search, 95% YouTube and 81% Google Maps.

While women and low income groups remain less likely to be online, they are catching up. From our polling, these groups are much more likely to have recently joined the internet and if trends continue, they will be increasingly be able to benefit from the internet.

So what are those benefits? We looked at how Google products were used, and why, across people’s daily lives, their work, and in their interactions with society and its institutions:

  • Google makes people’s lives easier. We found that Google Search saved online Egyptians around a day a year – 23 hours – and that increasingly Egyptians were able to get things done like email or researching purchases while travelling around. Google is increasingly used to support family life – helping people stay in touch and, with YouTube and Search, as a way to help children gain knowledge and learn. Google products are also used to help people pursue their hobbies and have more fun – whether that’s online with YouTube videos or offline when using Maps to find restaurants.  In total our estimates find that the total value to consumers is E£ 470 billion a year, while Search creates E£ 144 in value per month for the median Egyptian.
  • Google supports work life. We polled business leaders across Egypt and found that, increasingly, the internet is a foundational part of their companies and their productivity. Companies use Google to reach customers worldwide and get the best possible return on their advertising. Businesses also agree it has made them more customer focused. For the smallest businesses, Google is particularly important: 89% of businesses with less than 50 employees say free search and free office tools help them compete with bigger players. In total we estimate Google products support at least E£ 5.2 billion in economic activity in Egypt.

Google helps people contribute to society. Our polling found that people now think they are exposed to a wider range of views, and more sources of news, than before search engines. Our modelling also finds that Google products – particularly Maps – have a major impact on the environment, saving the equivalent of 55,000 round the world flights in carbon emissions.

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