Monday marked the beginning of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is observed by Muslims across the globe as a month of fasting. This tradition is practiced by more than 1.7 billion people to commemorate a pivotal story in the Islamic holy text, the Quran, and to connect with family and friends. Google is putting all of the information needed to celebrate Holy Month, as well as some augmented reality and virtual reality features, at everyone’s fingertips.
Yonca Dervisoglu, Google’s VP of Marketing, unveiled three new Ramadan-centric tools that are now active. Her blog post noted that every year queries like “best Ramadan recipes” and “How to wish someone a happy Ramadan” inundate Google Search, so this year the company wants to give users a kit to make getting this information simpler than ever.
Google Ramadan 2018: Prayers, Recipes, and Entertainment
According to Dervisoglu, searchers for recipes spike 50 percent higher and watch times on YouTube cooking videos see a 30 percent boost. Instead of having people scroll through an endless array of online recipes, Google is rolling out a special tool in the Middle East, North Africa, and Indonesia that will neatly deliver this content when someone searches “Ramadan.”
This tool will bring up a whole menu of recipes, the different times for prayer, and even suggest different TV shows to watch, since many people like to kick back when they’re fasting. Think of this as a simplified guide to Ramadan.
Google Ramadan 2018: Where Is Mecca?
Millions of Muslims pray facing the direction of the Great Mosque of Mecca. This practice is known as Qibla and many mosques around the world have an indication of which direction should be faced during prayer. But for those without a mosque nearby, Google has made improvements to its Qibla Finder.
The web app was originally released last year and uses AR to point toward Mecca. Google has improved upon this widget by adding offline capabilities and a shortcut to add it to your Android home screen.
Google Ramadan 2018: Customizable Greeting Cards
Google will also be releasing a ton of customizable greeting cards that those of you celebrating the Holy Month can send to your loved ones. This new web app, Qalam, fuses together the rich history of calligraphic art and the modern-day marvel of VR.
Artists from around the world brought their style of calligraphy to art with the help of the VR app, Tilt Brush. Their creations are all available to share and customize in the Qalam app, so you can wish a family member halfway across the world a happy Ramadan.