If you’re a Muslim who owns an iOS or/and Android-powered phone, you might consider installing the Muslim Pro app on your smartphone. It provides useful information for Muslim faithfuls, including prayer times, an azan clock, the Quran, Halal restaurants, mosques, and the Qibla locator.
I spoke with Erwan Mace, the founder of Muslim Pro, a couple of days ago. He tells me that his app has gathered a whopping 850,000 unique downloads… Aaaaand three million downloads if we include updates. The app is free for all to use and also includes in-app purchases if users are looking for premium content.
Erwan runs Bitsmedia, a two-year old app development start-up, which creates mobile apps for him and for his clients. Besides Muslim Pro, the social app finder Frenzapp is another Bitsmedia production. Launched just recently, this app has gathered around 20,000 users. Things were starting to get fun when Google offered him a job…
We had coffee at Starbucks, and as Erwan took a sip, he told me that joining Google is something that he could not refuse. “Google is a company whose products, vision and people I have admired for a long time,” he explained.
Now note that Google didn’t acquire Bitsmedia to get Erwan onboard. Erwan is humble enough to admit that he approached Google first and will be joining them soon as… Take a deep breath — Program Manager, Developer Relations, South-East Asia.
Erwan said that his new role at Google would be to spread its technology with developers in Southeast Asia. He explained that most Google users would see the company as a search engine, online video (YouTube), and email provider (Gmail). And more advanced users will know about useful tools like Adwords or Docs.
But fewer people know about App Engine and the many APIs which Google has to offer. Instead of developers reaching out to Google, Google is now going after developers to provide them with what they need.
“The focus of the Developer Relations team is actually to animate the community and advocate technologies and API around Android development, App Engine, Chrome, etc…,” said Erwan.
The developer relations team at Google SEA is a newly established department which only consists of Erwan for now. Previously, it was run by a Googler from Mountain View who would visit Southeast Asia occasionally to engage with developers. The decision to finally bring in someone full-time – and local – shows the need and importance of building good relationships and mind-share within the developers community.
As for Bitsmedia, Erwan says that he has stopped accepting clients and is looking for buyers for Frenzapp. Muslim Pro will continue to be his pet app as there isn’t any conflict with any Google products. “Well, it takes very little time to manage anyway,” he said.