With no Internet, Egypt news freed by Google SayNow #Jan25

Egypt's Internet disconnected by Hosni Mubarak, so try to tweet via voice. Google's SayNow stands by Egyptian democracy protestors, helping them communicate.

Speak2Tweet logo
By Richi Jennings. February 1, 2011.

As the final Egypt Internet connection disappears, how can protesters get their messages out? Google's latest acquisition, SayNow, is offering a free service for Egyptians to phone in their messages: speak2tweet. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wish Egyptians everywhere ?????? ?????.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention Lackadaisy Expressions...


Robert McMillan says it now:

Google, which purchased SayNow just last week, has hacked together a "speak-to-tweet service" for Egyptians ... who can't connect with Twitter. ... The last remaining major ISP ... Noor Group, abruptly disconnected ... Monday.


The speak-to-tweet service automatically puts the voicemail on ... a Twitter message posted to Google's Speak2tweet Twitter account. ... many of them in Arabic -- including commentary and reports from Egypt ... as people take to the streets to call for democratic reforms to the unpopular government of President Hosni Mubarak.

Chris Pirillo adds:

The folks at Google spent the weekend watching the events in Egypt unfold. They were flabbergasted. ... The hope is that this project will help the people of Egypt to stay connected during such a horrific time in their lives.


The entire country [is] paralyzed with no Internet connection. I cannot begin to imagine the horror of what these people are already living through. ... It’s fantastic to see [what] the team from Google, Twitter and SayNow have come up with.

SayNow/Google's Ujjwal Singh and AbdelKarim Mardini:

Like many people we’ve been glued to the news unfolding in Egypt and thinking of what we could do to help. ... Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service. ... We hope that this will ... help people in Egypt stay connected at this very difficult time. Our thoughts are with everyone there.


Anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required.

Chad Catacchio answers the obvious question: what are they saying?

The immediate point of this system is not to help organize within Egypt, but hopefully to offer a way for Egyptians to literally speak to the rest of the world. ... A number of volunteers outside of Egypt ... have decided to collaborate online to get those voicemails ... translated into English.


As of 9:50pm PDT on January 31, the volunteer translators had already more or less completed the translation of nearly 200 phone messages. All of that work was done in roughly five hours – amazing.

Larry Magid has alternatives:

This is, of course, only one of several creative ways that people can use to get around the Egyptian government's attempt to shut down communications. ... [Like] old fashioned dial-up modems ... satellite equipment and ... ham radio.

Patrick Miller and David Daw agree:

Remember when you stashed your old modems in the closet? ... In the event of a total communications blackout -- as we're seeing in Egypt, for example -- you'll be glad you did. ... These "abandoned" tech avenues aren't being policed nearly as hard.


You could also try returning to FidoNet -- a distributed networking system for BBSes that was popular in the 1980s. ... Your ham radio networks could even be adapted into your own ad-hoc network using Packet Radio.


And Finally...

Lackadaisy Expressions

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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