Campaign Tech Awards: Winner, Most Innovative App as a Product or Service

Google helped millions of Muslims find the direction of Mecca, using cutting-edge technology to create a free, accessible, easy-to-use web app.

Campaign Tech Awards: Winner, Most Innovative App as a Product or Service

‘Qibla Finder’ by Google Brand Studio

Every year during Ramadan there are over 60 million search queries for "Where is Mecca?". People pray more often during this period, so they need to accurately know its direction. There are many apps for this, but they are largely inaccurate, hard to use and need to be either downloaded or paid for.

The Qibla is the direction Muslims face when they’re praying – towards Mecca. Google Brand Studio released Qibla Finder for the holy month of Ramadan, which uses augmented reality, the phone camera and compass and GPS to point users in the direction of Mecca, wherever they are in the world. Plus it’s easy to use and is a free web app.

Google used cutting-edge technology in the form of several advanced browser APIs, including Geolocation API and MediaDevices API. Even users on slow connections could access the app, and it was localised to 16 languages. It was built to be accessible to everyone, everywhere, on a broad range of devices from low-powered mobiles to the latest phones, and all kinds of tablets and desktops.

There were four million unique users during Ramadan, of which 1.8 million returned to the site (a 45% return rate). Over 500,000 average monthly users continue to use the site today after Ramadan, which is all organic with no paid media running.

One of our judges said: "This is one of the first MediaDevices API-enabled sites I’ve seen. It works well and pulls together multiple Google services in a fluid way. The amount of visits is incredible."