Pioneering the internet revolution
What Google is to the world, goacom.com is to Goa. In today’s fast paced world, everyone’s desire is to have information right at the tip of their fingers and Goacom has been doing precisely this for over a decade now. Owned by Dr. Tim de Mello and officially launched on 18th November 1995 by the then deputy Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Wilfred de Souza, Goacom is a website of choice for Goans settled abroad and visitors to Goa.
The website offers numerous sections of interest to its users. The news section with its popular news clips and videos keeps the readers clued-up about the goings-on in Goa. The archives and search engine are a time capsule for those looking for more on the culture and history of this sun soaked State. This site has links to national media and Goa related websites, information about business, tourists, real estate besides a section devoted completely to authentic Goan cuisine and recipes. Goacom also serves as a referencer and guide book for tourists. Every bit of information that a tourist needs, right from beach information, cabs for hire, consulate, entertainment, foreign exchange to guest houses, hotel information, tour operators, travel agents is made available here making traveling trouble-free. Interestingly, there is also a ‘chat’ option available. Something found rarely on sites like this.
Goacom had it’s genesis in 1995 in Toronto, Canada when a group of Goans gathered together for a seminar on the ‘internet’. People who attended this meeting belonged to miscellaneous backgrounds. The keynote speaker at this meeting held in the medical building of Dr. A.J. de Mello was Mr. Maurice Gracias, a U.S. resident and an entrepreneur on doing business with India. The seminar consisted of a live demo when a connection was made to the internet. Principles on how the internet started were explained. Also, E-mail a brand new concept back then was introduced. The significance of web pages was demonstrated. And yet, a survey of the audience taken to ascertain how many saw the internet as a boon to their enterprise had no takers at all. The organizers therefore felt the need to first set an example and start a formal Goan presence on the internet. The acronym Goacom based on Goa and commercial was chosen since the venture was supposed to be commercial.
“Goacom serves the purpose of providing information, business opportunities and communication services to the world community” says Tim D’Mello who activated the discussion and ended up setting the portal out of sheer frustration just to prove a point that it could be done. From the very day of its commencement, the website has conducted its operations as a non-profit organisation but based on fee for service. Any revenue earned is utilised for the improvement of its services to the Goan community. “The long term aim of the website is to have a fulfledged information service company providing high tech employment opportunities in Goa.”
Intended for the demographic age between 30 and 75 years, the website is geared towards non-resident Goans and the diaspora settled anywhere on the globe; to keep them connected with the motehrland. It is little wonder then that the section of the website receiving maximum number of ‘hits’ is the news! The easiest way to keep oneself clued-up on their hometown. Jovito Braganza, an insurance professional living in Edinburgh confirms the hunch. “I am keyed in to local politics and know ward-wise developments better than most people staying in Goa itself. You can take a man outside Goa. But you can’t take Goa out of him. Goacom is a great boon.”
Having started at a time when the internet was still in it’s infancy, Goacom’s growth has been very steady. Even with the proliferation of similar websites in the more recent past, they have been able to hold their own in the cyberspace.
“What differentiates us from other websites is the fact that we try and give as much information about Goa as possible- from villages to religious and cultural activities. We are comprehensive” says D’Mello.
The website relies on ‘feedback’ from its users to continuously upgrade itself. Among the various sections on their homepage, there are also sections dealing with home remedies, health care, wedding planner etc. With so much to offer, Goacom is definitely Goa’s premium website! A one stop shop