Google and Twitter have gotten together to circumvent the internet blockade in Egypt and are now offering a service enabling those in Egypt to reach out via voice messages which are then tweeted by a special account.As the revolution in Egypt continues to unfold the lockdown on communication methods tightens. The last active ISP to serve individual users was cut off, text messages are being disrupted, but phone lines are now working again, apparently.
"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," Ujjwal Singh, CoFounder of SayNow and AbdelKarim Mardini, Product Manager at Google for Middle East & North Africa, wrote.
"We worked with a small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company we acquired last week, to make this idea a reality," they announced.
"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," they explained.
There are about 600 messages, most from Egypt at this point. People can simply call any of the numbers and then leave a voice message. They can also listen in on the messages already saved via the same numbers.
A link to each message is also tweeted by the Speak To Tweet account set up for this very reason. Of course, no internet connection is required to use the service making it perfect for the situation.
Traditional reporting is the only reliable means of keeping track of developments, but Speak to Tweet provides an account from the perspective of the people directly involved.
It's interesting that the tool was made possible by using the SayNow technology which Google only recently got its hands on. SayNow provides simple means of leaving voice messages and embedding them online, perfect for the current conditions in Egypt.