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Posted at 6:30 PM ET, 01/31/2011

Google, Twitter team up for Egyptians to send tweets via phone

By Cecilia Kang

As Egypt moved Monday to shut down its sole operating Internet service provider, Google and Twitter teamed up to create a service for people to send tweets from the nation through a phone call.

Over the weekend, a small group of engineers from the companies got together to create the service that allows anyone with access to voice service -- landline or mobile -- to leave a messsage that automatically gets transmitted into a tweet, according to the Google blog. People cut off from Internet and mobile services in Egypt could call +16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855. Tweets from the call would be sent with the hashtag: #egypt.

"Like many people we’ve been glued to the news unfolding in Egypt and thinking of what we could do to help people on the ground," wrote Ujjwal Singh, cofounder of Google company SayNow and AbdelKarim Mardini, a Google product manager for Middle East & North Africa.

"We hope that this will go some way to helping people in Egypt stay connected at this very difficult time. Our thoughts are with everyone there," they wrote.

The service comes as Egypt's ministry of information told CNN Monday evening it has shut down Noor the remaining ADSL service, according to CNN. Noor had appeared to be offering Internet connections to a limited number of institutions within Cairo, global network experts said.

The move effectively cut off any communications in the nation to the Internet ahead of planned protests Monday. The Egyptian government also said it had cut off all mobile services Monday ahead of the protests.

By Cecilia Kang  | January 31, 2011; 6:30 PM ET
Categories:  Google  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama administration looks to Defense Department airwaves for commercial use
Next: The Circuit: Google helps Egyptians tweet, tech CEOs head to the White House, Android takes lead in smartphones

Comments

Obama needs to ask the King of Saudi Arabia to also step down.

Posted by: Maddogg | January 31, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

So the government can flood with fake ones, and get the protesters to meet in the middle of the Nile river!

Posted by: Nemo24601 | January 31, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

We have started to translate these tweets for the global public at http://speak2tweettranslate.wordpress.com/. If you understand Egyptian Arabic please contribute!

Posted by: batula0125 | February 1, 2011 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Awesome. I am glad that unlike the government's position of supporting dictators in the ME, at least private US companies are with the people.

Posted by: jasonhen | February 1, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Google and Twitter need to stay out of the business of other countries. They think they're so cool, but they could have ended up getting people killed! Believe me having lived in that part of the middle east having people killed because of misinformation can happen quickly from what appears to be an honest message! When you don't understand a country stay the hell of their business. Pathetic!

Posted by: Upjoe | February 1, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

This is a good thing that Google and Twitter are doing. It shows that they know how important it is that we all stay connected.

Posted by: PhilSeymour | February 1, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Something of Google that Microsoft does not want to copy.
How Google makes its money? It creates a box-title – an emotional signal-word more than a real algorythm - to attract documents from “extreme outliers”, like “N Bank in trouble” (N replaced by name of a well-known bank.)
Then it collects 4 million documents under that title, indeed a number distressing for clients of that bank and even more for its owners. Two weeks later the number of documents shrank to 300,000.
Who paid Google to hide the previous 3.7 million documents now missing on the list? And who paid Google to place on top of the list of the remaining 300,000 documents another one whith a title like: “Bank [N] customers’ great satisfaction”, with in fact poor new data which are the result of a partial selection? You have the answer.

Posted by: rivenq | February 2, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

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