August 15, 2011
The Middle East and the North African (MENA) region has become a focus of attraction for many big industries and businesses, one of which is Google. InsightsMena and Google+ are some of the newest projects.
“The number of internet users in the Middle East and North African countries goes up by 40% every year and 95 million persons in the region have been using internet for more than five years,” says Ari Kesisoglu, Google Regional Manager for MENA. Twelve to 13 million people start using the internet yearly in the MENA, added Najeeb Jarrar of Google Marketing Team.
This is how the idea of InsightsMena came about; Google turned its interest in this growing region into an informative and user-friendly website that provides information about media usage, the internet, e-commerce and much more.
Google aims at understanding the landscape of the region; the website includes information from the five biggest Middle Eastern countries: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Morocco. “Google dealt with Nelson in the UAE, the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt and many other institutions to gather the needed information,” says Jarrar, adding that Google began its search with these five countries as they are the biggest in the region and provide the largest number of internet users.
The website is in English, Arabic and French and is regularly updated. The layout is colorful and any data obtained from the website can be turned in to a Powerpoint presentation in absolutely no time.
Any search is customized to country, age and gender, and graphs are available in various forms and colors. “The material is easy to download and manipulate,” says Jarrar. The website uses “html 5,” the newest technology available, which ensures a better internet experience for users.
Google+ is another social media tool, presented last month. “The project aims to simulate real life and bring innovations to a better use,” says Kesisoglu. Each Google+ profile consists of circles, simulating the real circles of friends and acquaintances in life, which allow better communication and profile management.
The second creation of Google+ is Hangouts. These are simplified video conferences you can arrange with one or multiple friends on your account. Sparks are the third attraction on Google+: customized searches tailored to your taste about the latest in anything.
Regarding privacy, Google+ guarantees full control for the user and superior privacy options. “If you wish to deactivate your Google+ account, the data liberation program allows you to terminate your account and download all your data and pictures onto another program,” Kesisoglu says.
“There are 265 million people in the Middle East and North Africa that haven’t yet joined the world of the internet, which is a guarantee that more users will join in the future,” explains Kesisoglu. Internet business is all about the number of users; they create traffic and content and encourage businesses like Google to invest in advertisers, thereby leading the way to the growth of e-commerce.