Abu Dhabi: Google announced on Wednesday an initiative to build a vibrant Arabic web and boost the amount of Arabic content online: “Arabic Web Days” a one-month programme with initiatives by both global and regional players in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) to inspire users to create more content in Arabic, Google said in a statement.
Maha Abu Elenein, Google’s Head of Communications in Mena, said: “The purpose of Arabic Web Days is to inspire the community to increase Arabic content on the internet,” adding that “It’s all about the users. We want the internet to be relevant for Arabic speaking users.”
The statement revealed that the amount of Arabic content on the web only represents 3 per cent of the total digital content on the web and the Arabic language is the seventh most used language online globally.
Google said that 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,” said Google.
The key elements of the initiative 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 and to learn how to use the Google translator toolkit to turn English content into Arabic.
Google has also announced that 12/12/12 has been declared National Arabic Internet Day
Google has joined forces with Vinelab and Wamda and Taghreedat in Mena to shape initiative which also includes Twitter, Wikipedia, TED, Soundcloud, YouTube and local powerhouses TwoFour54 and Qatar Foundation’s Qatari Computing Research Institute (QCRI).
Samy Mubarak and Mina Takla, Taghreedat Co-Founders, said: “We are 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.”
Habib Haddad, CEO of Wamda, said: “As the Arabic content flourishes so do the opportunities to build innovative companies that make use of that content, which is a right step towards the creation of this ecosystem.”