Last week, Google announced the launch of Google N…

Last week, Google announced the launch of Google News Israel. I’m wondering though, out of curiosity, how many people are there who speak Hebrew in this world? Don’t you think that Arabic deserves more attention from Google? I’m pretty sure there are much more Arabic speakers out there (at least more than Hebrew speakers) who would be interested in such product from them.

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18 thoughts on “Last week, Google announced the launch of Google N…

  1. فعلاً

    اللغة العربية أرقى و متحدثوها أكثر بكثير

    و من ناحية أخرى
    أبونا إسماعيل أكبر من أبوهم إسحاق
    أبناء سيدنا إبراهيم عليهم السلام
    فالمفروض من باب الذوق و الأدب
    يقدمونا عليهم

    حسبي الله على حالنا

  2. Hi Ahmed,

    Google News in Hebrew was developed by the Israeli subsidiary of Google in Israel, which was established by a group of Israeli entrepeneurs who approached Google for a sort of “franchise” deal and established Google Israel.

    Google headquarters in Silicon Valley had nothing to do with the initiative. It was simply proposed to them and they accepted the idea. It would be great if an entrepeneur in the Arab world would do the same thing because, of course, there are far more Arabic than Hebrew speakers..

    article: http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/691235.html

  3. Although I’m not denying the proportions of language speakers, I feel inclined to add that the Arab world, with it’s population of 300 million people, published 2100 new titles last year. Comparitively, Israel, with a population of 7 million people, produced 13 thousand new titles last year.
    Who are the readers here?

  4. I wonder though with the conservative elements in Islamic countries, that there would not be any desire to control the Google content, would an Arabic entrepeneur attempt the same kind of deal with Google. For example, the Chinese Google (which was initiated by Google) will have censorship in order to have a deal with the Chinese government. To many in the West,especially the US, that deal was considered a deal with the devil. Google presented itself as an open, rebel like alternative search engine where you could find ‘anything’ and now they voluntarily will limit their info with the China deal. Can you imagine someone wanting to look up ‘tianmen square uprising’??

  5. …you imagine a chinese person wanting to look up Tianmen Square uprising? hmmm… but I do think it would be great to have an arabic google, I wonder what the practical/political consideration would be to start that up.

  6. I understand there is a dispute and even a not-so-friendly relationship between Arabs and Israelis, but sometimes I can’t help but to feel surprised.

    More often than not my Saudi friends tell me about Israeli plots against the Arabs, pro-Israeli messages in Hollywood movies, and so on, and so on. It’s almost as if the Israeli’s controlled the World and every action they did was intentionally targeted against the Arabs.

    If my Saudi friends, who are in general open-minded, have this persistent and recurring drama, I guess that for the more conservatives Israel must be like a devil hidding in every single corner.

    I think it’s time you guys try to relax, and instead blaming others for their success try to achieve something on your own.

  7. Well, Israel is a technological oasis in this area (Regardless my personal ideology), and I’m sure they did their homework in luring Google.

    It’s enough to say that if it weren’t for Hebrew being written RTL we would still be without Arabic support for most of the FOSS, not to mention commercial software which we aren’t customers for because we mainly pirate.

    Regardless of the numbers of speakers of a langage, feasibilty in this domain is associated with literacy, Internet connectivity, potential markets and lobbying.

  8. If you want Google News in Arabic, then take the initiative and do it! Surely there must be some Arab high-tech investors who have the money and know-how to establish Google News in the Middle East.

    Nobody at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley said, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s start Google News in Hebrew!”

    Instead, some Israeli entrepeneurs approached Google with the idea of starting a subsidiary office in Israel.

    My impression is that you think Google decided to give priority to a Hebrew news site over an Arabic site. But it doesn’t work that way: if you want a local Google news site in your own language, you have to make the proposal to Google and start your own, local office. So far, the only Google subidiary in the Middle East is in Morocco. Why don’t you get in touch with the Morocco office and propose a Google news site in Arabic?

  9. Sorry, instead of saying that the only Google subsidiary in the Middle East is in Morocco, I should’ve said that there are two: one in Casablanca and one in Tel Aviv. Both were established by local entrepeneurs.

  10. Dear Ahmed, I think initiation is an important issue here. The problem with most Arabic countries is lack of investment and general interest in scientific/technological enterprises. Unfortunately, most of what we do is copy and paste. This has to change with the new generation or we will be below the surface and I don’t even want to know what that would be like.

  11. Hello Ahmed,

    My name is Richard Gizbert. I am contacting you in reference to The
    Listening Post, a media broadcast that will air on the new english
    language service of al Jazeera, al Jazeera International. I’m the
    producer/anchor for what will be a weekly broadcast, based in London.

    Our plan is to take a long, hard look at corporate concentration in
    global media, to try to inform media consumers about what they are
    watching.

    We will also examine state run television and the impact that
    it has in large parts of the world where there is no real choice for
    viewers.

    Part of our brief will also be to provide simple comparisons
    of the coverage of major events, depending on which companies/countries
    that news is filtered through.

    We are looking for voices we can tap into through new technologies,
    primarily webcams and camera phones, to discuss media and its impact on
    our lives.

    Would you be interested in making occasional contributions to the Listening Post, and becoming part of our community of voices? If not, perhaps you’ve met someone online or in your cyber-travels, someone from the Arab World, or beyond, who might want to participate in our broadcast.

    We are looking for people with something to say about media. They would need
    to speak good english and have access to a webcam.

    Obviously, we would do whatever you would ask in order not to reveal your identity, to protect you and your family.

    As you know, the west is a very wired place. But we are interested not only in voices from outside North America and Europe, the kinds of places that can provide a different perspective, one that tends to go unheard. Given that fewer people in the Arab world are connected, that makes this is a bit of a challenge.

    Two warnings:

    1/ We can only use people who are webcam or cameraphone savvy, because those are
    the technologies we will rely upon.

    2/ We operate with a very small budget, so this would not be a lucrative proposition for participants. What we can offer is exposure, over the world’s newest global 24 hour news channel, on what we think will be a pretty cool show.

    So please let me know what you think.

    Thank you.

    Richard Gizbert

  12. Ahmed, it’s not just a Google Israel, but it indexes the Israeli press and news sources, as does Google News for press in English. It’s pretty cool, actually – thanks for pointing it out to me.

    Oh, and there’s about 6.2 million people in Israel, most of whom are Hebrew-speakers. You’re right that there’s potentially a much larger Arabic audience.

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