Google announced today an initiative to build a vibrant Arabic web and boost the amount of Arabic content online: Arabic Web Days a one-month program with initiatives by both global and regional players in MENA to inspire users to create more content in Arabic. The program theme is “It’s better in Arabic.”
Google has joined forces with Vinelab and Wamda and Taghreedat in MENA to shape the program which also includes Twitter, WikiPedia, TED, Soundcloud, YouTube and local powerhouses TwoFour54 and Qatar Foundation’s Qatari Computing Research Institute (QCRI).
The idea for the initiative was driven by unserved demand for content in Arabic. Arabic is the fastest growing language on the web today, however there is a large gap between the number of Arabic speaking users and the amount of Arabic content on the Internet today. The amount of Arabic content on the web only represents 3% of the total digital content on the web and the Arabic language is the seventh most used language online globally.
“The purpose of Arabic Web Days is to inspire the community to increase Arabic content on the internet” Google’s Head of Communications in MENA, MahaAbouelenein said. “It’s all about the users, she added, we want the Internet to be relevant for Arabic speaking users.”
The month-long series of online and offline events will engage users to join the movement to accelerate digital Arabic content creation in MENA. Key elements of the month long program include:
A series of Hangouts on Google+ to share with users tips and tricks for anything they want to do on the web in Arabic:
Learn how to use the Google translator toolkit to turn English content into Arabic.
Join the Wikipedia Editors Program in its second cycle, launched as part of Arabic Web Days, to master Arabic Wikipedia editing in 4 key steps.
Wamda will share tips and tricks for online journalism and allow users to submit their journalistic stories to be published on Wamda.com.
Users can hangout with a Googler to learn more about search engine optimization on the web.
YouTube will host a hangout on how to develop your audience and viral content to boost views.
Hangout with ICANN to learn more about Arabic domain names.
Egyptian Minister of Education, Dr. Ibrahim Ghoneim has announced their effort to enrich Arabic content on the Internet by preparing several educational channels on YouTube and releasing online education portals which include all the different curriculums from first grade until 12th grade in addition to e-Lessons via video on YouTube and direct interaction on Google+ via Hangouts.
Al Arabiya, one of the Arab World’s leading news channels will be doing various programs and initiatives during the AWD month through TV, online and more.
Hosting a YouTube Tweet Up in Doha, Qatar on December 15th to share insights on how to create viral Arabic videos and make money through YouTube; Launching the region's first Arabic infographics competition with Tajseed.
An event hosted by twofour54 and Taghreedat, featuring TED in Abu Dhabi on December 4th.
Developer training at g|days in Jordan on December 5-6 and Egypt on December 9-10.
Google also announced that 12/12/12 has been declared National Arabic Internet Day and they will be making further announcements on the celebrations planned with their partners for this date.
"Taghreedat is a firm believer in the power of crowd-sourcing to transform the Arabic digital content landscape. We believe that a richer, more relevant and more inclusive Arabic web can only be truly built by the users themselves. Arabic Web Days not only inspires users - but empowers them to make significant contributions to the Arabic web" said Samy Mubarak and Mina Takla, Taghreedat Co-Founders.
This one month campaign is the first step towards a stronger Arabic web. “Arabic Web Days” is just the beginning - we hope to keep the momentum beyond just this month - the talent in MENA is strong and we have yet to realize the economic potential that the web can create,” Vinelab’s Managing Director Abed Agha and Arabic Web Days co-creator.
Habib Haddad CEO of Wamda, founder of Yamli and co-creator of “Arabic Web Days” reinforced the importance of Arabic content and it’s role in creating opportunities for the entrepreneurship ecosystem: “As the Arabic content flourishes so do the opportunities to build innovative companies that make use of that content, Arabic Web Days is a step towards the creation of this ecosystem.”