Google hosts first UAE G-Day

Developer event to showcase Google products and build community

Tags: Google IncorporatedSocial networkingSoftware developerUnited Arab Emirates
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Google hosts first UAE G-Day Ari Kesisoglu (l) and Nelson Mattos of Google at the first G-UAE.
By  Mark Sutton Published  October 19, 2011

Google has opened its first G-Day developer event in the UAE, bringing together the local development community with staff from Google to discuss the latest technologies from the internet giant.

The sold-out event, which runs today and tomorrow in Dubai, includes technical tracks and previews of new products, and is part of an ongoing series of G-Days in the Middle East.

Ari Kesisoglu, managing director, Google Middle East and North Africa said that the company is pleased with the turn out.

"From the developer community, we had really strong demand, the event sold out a while ago. We think there is great talent in the region, and the demand we see here confirms that," Kesisoglu said.

"We feel this year has been a tipping point for the [MENA] region. There are 74 million internet users here, that has been increasing by 40% for the past few years - that is roughly one million people coming online every single month. That is a great opportunity for start-ups,"

Speaking to press at the event, Nelson Mattos, VP for Europe and Emerging Markets said that Google is working in a number of different fields to increase usage of the internet in emerging markets.

"Our whole focus in emerging markets is making the internet part of everyday life. Half of the world's population is not using the internet," Mattos said.

Google has focused on enabling better access to the internet, through improvements to infrastructure such as installing as Google Global Caches with most ISPs in MENA region, for quick content serving, and establishing interest groups such as Google Technology User Groups and Google Business User Communities.

The company is also working to develop more relevant content and services for local users, to encourage more internet usage. Among the Google solutions that it has delivered to the region are translation tools, localized versions of its global products such as Google + and products specifically developed for the region, such as the Ejabat Arabic language online Q&A service.

Google has seen strong uptake of its social networking service, Google + in the MENA region, with local uptake outstripping global adoption, said Mattos.

"The uptake globally is quite positive, it is much, much better than expected. We have 40 million active users globally. We see a higher level of engagement here than globally.

Mattos said that Google has also developed solutions to increase the uptake of Google + in emerging markets, such as developing extensions to access the social network via non-smart phones, and he hoped that GDay will further drive localization of the network, once developers have had a chance to become familiar with the APIs for Google +, and start developing their own apps for the service.

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