Google starts speak-to-tweet, last Egypt ISP down

Egyptians can dial up an international number; leave a voicemail that will be turned into a tweet

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Google starts speak-to-tweet, last Egypt ISP down Google has launched a new service called speak-to-tweet which allows users in Egypt to leave a voicemail at an international number, which will be turned into a tweet on their behalf.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  February 1, 2011

Egypt's last internet service provider, Noor, has now been taken offline. According to reports this is the ISP on which Egypt's stock exchange is hosted.

With the complete internet blackout in the region and ongoing protests against President Hosni Mubarak, Google has launched a special service for Egyptians wishing to tweet, according to Google's official blog.

Google Inc's service allows people in Egypt to dial a phone number and leave a voicemail, which will then be turned into a tweet.

"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. Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service-the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection," wrote Ujjwal Singh, co-founder of SayNow and AbdelKarim Mardini, product manager, Google Middle East & North Africa.
Google worked with a small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company it purchased last week, to create speak-to-tweet.

"It's already live and 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. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet," the blog post said.

The phone numbers are being rapidly spread across Twitter as people learn about Google's speak-to-tweet.

"RT tweet/voice/listen no net reqd +16504194196 +390662207294 +97316199855 tweet msgs w tag #egypt and twitter.com/speak2tweet," read a rash of messages on the site.

This initiative by Google adds to a growing list of initiatives helping to connect Egypt to the outside world. Many people are turning to old technologies to make this happen.

According to the BBC, dial-up modems have become one of the most popular methods of communication for Egyptians.

Lists of dial-up numbers are circulating in the country after an initiative by net activists We Re-Build and Telecomix to spread the word.

Dial up numbers are regularly being featured in Twitter messages and all have the hashtag #egypt or #Jan25. ISP companies in countries such as Spain, France, and Sweden have set up modems that will accept international calls so that information can be spread amongst protestors. Some ISPs have even waived any fees for those dialling up, according to the BBC.

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