Google’s Arabic Q&A service ‘Egabat’: clever way to sniff the market (and what’s up with the Egyptian influence in its name ;-)

8/9/2009

Google today announced the launch of a new Arab focused question and answer service under the name Google Egabat (English: Google Answers), not to be confused with the now-defunct English Google Answers service which was shut down a few years ago. For more info about Google Egabat check out StartupArabia’s post.

Google Egabat

Its definitely exciting to see yet another sign of interest of the big US internet players in the Arab market. Google’s choice of such a service in particular is also worth some analysis. Both Maktoob and D1G (and maybe others) have similar Q&A services, so Google is not really adding anything new here. However, they might have chosen to launch such service because it would contribute directly to increasing the amount of Arabic content on the internet and reveal what topics interest the Arab user today. In other words, this is an easy way for Google to ‘sniff’ the market and study its users.

Now for a lighter matter regarding this site. I mean what’s up with the Egyptian dialect in the name. The standard Arabic way to pronounce the name of the service is ‘Ejabat’. When I say standard I mean the way people would read it in the Quran or the way the news is read on Aljazeera. It’s a ‘Jeem’ as in Jordan and not a ‘G’ like in Egg.

If you go the ejabat.google.com (so they’re obviously aware of the issue) it also takes you to the new site. But they’ve chosen to to go with the Egyptian pronouncement ‘Egabat’. Was this service developed in Egypt? I wouldn’t be surprised.

11 Comments

  1. Fayez says:

    Google’s Egyptian influence is easily understood when you look at the staff! Mohammed Gawdat, an IT superman is spearhading EMEA and Emerging markets, he’s Egyptian. What’s his name Sherif Iskander, their first MENA Director, an ex-hardware salesman, was Egyptian although Google did not renew his contract.
    When Google came to Amman, the guy who was heading their Arabic development in Switzerland turned out to be, you guessed it? Egyptian.
    Then on the lighter side, it is Google with an Egyptian “Jeem” not Joojel with our Levantine one ;-) Ummal aih?

  2. Dalia says:

    well – you could argue that g can be pronounced hard or soft..
    e.g. gate vs. giraffe

    so – technically – it’s not necessarily egyptian dialect

  3. Humeid says:

    Interesting insight Fayez.

    Dalia.. consider these words:

    Garage. Game. Gate. Good. Grand. Gamut. It’s the Ga sound.

    Get. Give. Gift. Again the Ga sound

    Giraffe. Gyroscope. Geography. Geology. It’s the Ja sound.

    It seems to me, and I am no expert, that an ‘a’ or an ‘o’ comes after the ‘g’ it Ga. When it’s an ‘i’, ‘e’ or ‘y’ it could be both Ga or Ja.

    Now.. Give me a word that starts with ‘G’, followed by an ‘a’ where the sound is ‘Ja’.

    I can’t think of any right now.

  4. Dalia says:

    good point – I am actually trying to find one but you are probably right
    http://words-that-start-with-g.wordover.com/p/g*/

    even those that have ga in the middle
    http://www.morewords.com/contains/ga/

    The only one that I found is algae (silent a though – so doesn’t count)

    tres interesting – had never noticed that before!

    anyway – keep blogging.. mnawwer my rss ya abu qais!

  5. Wael Ghonim says:

    Thanks for the feedback. Interesting insight about the G vs. J, I’m the product and marketing manager for MENA. We will take your feedback seriously, and will re-evaluate this G and J issue. Currently we posted a question asking people to voice their feedback on this issue: http://egabat.google.com/egabat/thread?tid=1568eff624005f69

  6. Fayez says:

    Nice one, Wael!

  7. [...] Plus d’information sur ArabCrunch Maintenant pourquoi Egabat en egyptien et non pas ijabat tel que nous la langue arabe le prononce, je vous laisse lire ce billet. [...]

  8. TechCzar says:

    I’m excited to see players like Google and Yahoo making a push for the Arab market BUT I would like to see more innovative services. Perhaps this is innovative in the sense that many people didn’t know answer services existed before but can’t they make something more, well, cutting edge specifically for a middle-eastern market? there must be something out there.

  9. Najeeb says:

    Hi Ahmad,

    Just wanted to follow up on this issue , We took the the feedback from our users and Made the G to J
    see our post

    http://google-arabia.blogspot.com/2009/09/httpejabatgooglecom.html

  10. Humeid says:

    Dear Wael and Najeeb. Thanks for your comments here. I will do a new post about the change you effected on the service’s name :-)

  11. salwa says:

    لم افهم شيئ

Leave a Comment

  • gravamen