Saturday, November 08, 2008

Google’s Ta3reeb and anti-competitive practices

Google has taken another step in its Arabization efforts, launching Google Ta3reeb at Gitex Technology Week.

It is a transliteration tool.This means it allows users to use their Latin keyboards to type in Arabic text.

But, Google is not the first to do this. A product launched by a couple of Arab entrepreneurs in the US did it first. is a startup that has gathered substantial publicity for a couple of years and seems to now be going head-to-head with the industry giant!

It creates a situation where entrepreneurs should be concerned about Google’s involvement in every field of Arabic Internet applications and services, possibly making it impossible for local or regional initiavtes to compete!

Although it’s an ‘open market’ and anyone can launch a product, there’s also the matter of Google using ‘anti-competitive’ practices. For example, when you conduct a search on Google for the term ‘Yamli’, you get in the search results but also get an advertisement link about Google Ta3reeb!

This, as I understand, is illegal in the United States and Euorope where Google cannot target it’s advertising for in-house products at searches for intellectual property rights protected brands. I discussed this matter while in the UAE with a senior Arab Google official, and he agreed that such concerns regarding such practices must be reported to head quarters, and both he and Google management ‘support Arab software and Internet development efforts.”

With Google’s continued roll-out of Arabic products, you would hope such a sentiment is demonstrated.

Anyway, according to the blog, “Google had launched transliteration services before. Mianly, services that offer transliteration from English to Indian languages like Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu on Blogger and through Google Talk bots over the past year.”

So, this Arabic product was a ‘natural evolution’. It’s still too early to judge Google’s Ta3reeb service as it appears that “Yamli is faster and offers more relevant transliterations and word suggestions”, according to StartupArabia.

Let’s wait and see how both products evolve.


At 12:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that will stay and be at the top in this field.. For at least one reason .. they are focused on this product and they will work day and night to keep it on the glowing.



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