Google is the latest company making an effort to help developing nations get connected to the wired world. Technology companies continue their efforts to connect people from remote villages in foreign nations to the computer world by providing the internet infrastructure and computer hardware necessary. The Surui tribe from the Amazon jungle in a border region in western Brazil is the latest group to get a boost from computer technology.
"Since the Surui and other indigenous people were given training tools by Google, our land has received more visibility," said Surui Chief Almir Surui. "All the information is shedding light on the invasion of our land ... and giving our people the responsibility for their own future."
The Surui tribe first had interaction with outsiders more than 40 years ago, but still remains one of the most isolated groups in the world. After greeting the outside world that helped build the Trans-Amazon Highway, the group struggled with disease outbreaks.
Specifically, members of the Google Earth Outreach program headed to the Amazon to help the tribe use Google Earth to monitor illegal miners and loggers who are quietly grazing land in the 600,000-acre Surui land. While the Brazilian government gives the Surui a constitutional right to the land, very few monetary resources or armed guards are available to help protect the land.
Google Earth has also been used to monitor destroyed villages in Darfur, follow chimpanzee movements in Tanzania, and observe earthquake damage and extensive flooding in China.
In addition to monitoring miners, the Surui also are using the Google search engine to help spread the word about their culture and beliefs.
Tech companies are focusing on Brazil because the country has a growing economy and a strong thirst for technology. Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, and several open source companies are involved in creating a broad infrastructure for the people in Brazil.
Internet growth worldwide is expected to take place in countries such as Brazil, China, Russia and other developing nations, multiple research firms indicate. Jupiter Research compiled a report stating Brazil will be one of the nations responsible for the most significant Internet growth from 2008 until 2011.