By Sony Radhityo
Our main goal at GOJEK has always been to build a Super App for Southeast Asia. On this journey, we’ve built 19+ products that have redefined the on-demand service landscape in four countries. We’re always on the lookout to build more useful products, and this is the story of one such.
Our vision is not just to build a self-contained ecosystem, but one that allows third-party companies to leverage the GOJEK platform. This post tells the story of how we built GO-NEWS, our first product built with third-party collaboration.
The Origin Story
At our current scale, the next logical step to grow our platform is to open the app to third-party companies. This move helps build upon and merge existing, loyal user bases. Now, you don’t build separate apps. Instead, you can host your offerings on a single Super App.
Step-by-step, the Super App becomes the OS.
But why news?
Before GO-NEWS, all products within the GOJEK platform were created for transactions. We hadn’t ventured into the realm of non-transactional products. This means that when our users did not have any need to buy food, order a ride, look for a massage, or any other transactional use cases — they had very little incentive to open our app.
Take the case of our fellow Super App — WeChat. The core feature of WeChat is a non-transactional product — chat. This means users are likely to open the app regardless of whether they intend to make a transaction. That office gossip needs to be discussed somewhere, right? 😝
Based on this understanding, we posed the following hypothesis: what if we introduce a product that will serve content?
Our users would now have MORE reasons to open GOJEK, even if they did not immediately have any transactional use cases we can serve.
Our expertise does not lie in content-based products. We don’t have an editorial team to create content, and building one would have taken time. Besides, we weren’t really sure if this whole non-transactional product idea would even work. We tried to create content in-house, but quickly came to a conclusion.
This approach was not scalable. At GOJEK, building scalable products is right at the top of our checklist.
So, we decided to build a news aggregator, which allowed us to provide regular content to users without creating the content ourselves. You may think about why we went with news as our first content use case.
Our thought process was very simple:
There will always be new content every day, every hour, even every minute, to keep users engaged. This is the philosophy behind GO-NEWS.
How we did it
For the first version of GO-NEWS, we partnered with Kumparan.com — one of the premier news providers in Indonesia. Kumparan is our partner of choice because we believe we can move faster by partnering with an early-stage startup, especially for a proof of concept.
We leverage GOJEK proprietary technologies like Lambda and Shuffle to integrate Kumparan content into the GOJEK platform. We built a worker — nicknamed ‘RSS worker’ — to parse the Kumparan RSS Feed into a shuffle card, based on messages coming in from a Kafka message queue.
The Card type we use for the RSS Worker is article-card-v1. It has the following fields:
The way we designed this worker was intended to be source-agnostic, therefore we can always add a new RSS feed for the worker to consume and parse into a shuffle card.
Three months in, we have found that users who engage with GO-NEWS have 3–4X higher app opens compared to other users. This proves that introducing content-based use cases gives users more reasons to open the GOJEK app — even if they don’t have any transactional intent. (Success! 😅)
Currently, the news categories we offer include Breaking News, Entertainment, Food, Sport, and Travel. In the future, we intend to add more variety — like Health, Economics, Business, and more.
GO-NEWS is a unique product for GOJEK. It is the first product we created in collaboration with a third-party outside our ecosystem, and also the first non-transactional product on our platform. We definitely learned a lot from this initiative — one that will accelerate our efforts in building the best Super App in Southeast Asia through an open-platform strategy.
19+ products. — built in just over three years. GOJEK’s story is one of identifying pain points and building products to solve them. Our teams work across three countries, building startups within a startup. As we grow, so do the challenges we come up against, and our quest to find more people to solve them continues. Check out gojek.jobs to view our open positions, and come join us on the front lines 👍