Google launches Arabic tool website
Dubai, April 21, 2010
Google has launched a beta version of ‘Ahlan Online’, an Arabic website dedicated to providing Mena users with the skills they need to navigate the Internet using Google tools.
Designed to provide educational tips and guidance on basic online usage such as Google search, Gmail, Google Talk (chat) and Privacy settings (web safety), the site will assist new users rapidly learn the basic Google tools and practices of the Internet.
'Ahlan online' will continue to be enhanced based on users' feedback and needs, in addition to increasingly providing interactive guidance for a greater number of Google products and applications.
According to Google, ‘Ahlan Online’ was developed in light of recent statistics showing that 30 per cent of the new users online are under the age of 18.
Today the scenario has changed with the internet users in the Arab World having gone up 228 per cent from just 16.5 million in 2004 to 56 million. The largest increases by percentages have been seen in Egypt (20 per cent), Morocco (18 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (17 per cent), whilst the UAE has the regions highest Internet penetration rate with 60 per cent of the population online.
To-date there are 26 million personal computers in the Middle East, up from 11 million in 2004. Understanding the dynamics of the region and with users rapidly heading online Google has noted a demand for basic guidance on net navigation, search tips and more, said a top official.
“The Internet can often be intimidating for those who have not had to use it as part of their daily routine. This is especially true in the Middle East as Arab content online is still a work in progress,' said Wael Ghonim, regional product and marketing manager Mena.
'As a result we wanted to set up an easy to use platform in which users can be guided through a number of the tools we have available that will help make the online world friendlier and more accessible,' he explained.
“This is the first step of many as we work towards raising awareness about the Internet’s vast capabilities, from access to information and resources to more complex business tools. We live in a digital age and it is important that the Arab world takes advantage of this new medium.”
Catering specifically to new, first time Internet users, the site has Arabic language educational videos, all under three minutes, that provide a brief description of a topic followed by a simple tutorial.
Each video will be accompanied with an action button to allow users to try out what they learned or browse relevant Google products and tools.
In short, ‘Ahlan Online’ will allow users to learn the ways of Internet through an interactive lesson in Arabic as well as gain tips on how to navigate across a multitude of Google products especially relevant for new users, he added.