Wednesday, January 30, 2008

... and now Blogger goes Arabic too !

Several weeks ago, Google’s free blogging service, (Blogspot) shifted its default interface to Arabic for all users logging in from Arab countries.

This irritated many users, and actually resulted in blog posts from disgruntled non-Arabs living in the Gulf, who went on about how the GCC was multicultural.

It was interesting, but the over-riding issue was that Google was finally going to give popular blogging platforms in the Arab World a run for their money., and Al stand out as major Arab blogging communities,which basically do exactly what Blogger does, but in Arabic.

Having established sizable communities- Jeeran claims over 50,000 blogs- you can imagine that they’re somewhat prepared for this development.

However, if you think about it and notice the continuos evolution of Arabic language services from Google, you will see that a ‘complete e-life solution’ is Google’s aim. You’ve got your search engine, gmail, Google Apps, Arabic News, blogging platform and you can use Adsense and Analytics for your blog too.

You could soon be totally Googled, and all of it is happening in your mother-tongue.

To be honest, I personally feel that the best blogging platform is Word Press, and it’s available in Arabic, and is a great example of why an open source engine, rather than a blog community like Blogger, Maktoob or Jeeran could be the way ahead.

Back to the launch of Blogger in Arabic, Google already has offices in the region, in Cairo and Dubai, and has appointed a marketing manager for the Middle East and North Africa, Yasmina Brihi.

Unlike the old days, when Google would Arabize its products silently, they now want to announce such moves and demonstrate commitment to the region.

Ms. Brihi said “It's great to reach out to the Arabic-language community with the launch of Blogger in Arabic. There's a great deal of interest in and excitement about blogging in Arabic on the internet.”

More Google officials are lining up to speak to Arabia, including Siobhan Quinn, Product Manager at Google, who says that "[We're] really excited to be launching blogger in Arabic. Blogger's always been about allowing people to communicate, connect with each other, and share ideas in an easily accessible way; it's great to bring this platform to this community."

Google plans to update and enhance Blogger Arabic over the coming year and also launched the service in Persian and Hebrew.

So, again, this heightened interest by Google in our region is good news for consumers, as far as choice is concerned, but means some serious re-strategizing by major Arab blog communities who benefited from Google’s absence so far. It’s a tough, globalized world.

It’s not inconceivable that one of the home-grown blog communities we’ve got is offers a better blogging platform than Blogger. What is needed is some marketing clout and dollars to ensure that it can compete on all levels.

Then, with an even playing field, may the best blog platform win!


At 7:07 AM , Blogger Scena Sajjad said...

Great Son of Greatest Arab Mother


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