Post Tech – 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

Post Tech – Google, Twitter team up for Egyptians to send tweets via phone.

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