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Mon 20 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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Google plans further Arabic applications

Internet search giant looks to stake claim in burgeoning Arabic online sector.

Google is vowing to introduce more Arabic products to the market as it looks for ways to enrich the internet experience of web users in the Middle East.

The search engine giant, which is exhibiting at GITEX Technology Week for the first time, intends to strengthen its regional offering in line with the investments it is making in local staff and infrastructure.

"We are working on parallel opportunities and the result will be even more Arabic products in the near future," promises Yasmina Brihi, regional marketing manager for the Middle East and North Africa at Google.

We already have 15 products available in Arabic so we have made great progress and there is a lot of emphasis on that. But we're not only working towards localising products, we're developing new products and features as well."

As more of the Arab world comes online, Brihi expects a sharp acceleration in the adoption of Google products and tools in the region.

Visitors to Google's stand in the DIC Pavilion are invited to get the lowdown on the company's portfolio, including the services it now provides in Arabic. Its Knol, Gmail and iGoogle tools have all been developed in Arabic, as has Chrome, its latest web browser. The company also has representatives on hand to explain how its search advertising and enterprise applications offerings can support Middle East businesses.

"The way we do business is always to start with the users," explains Brihi. "All of our innovation comes from looking at what the user wants and giving them what they need to empower them for a more interesting life on the web."

Google's appearance at GITEX represents a milestone for its Middle East operations, which continue to expand in size. "We have been ramping up over the last two years by investing on several fronts. In terms of physical presence, we now have offices in three of our key markets - Egypt, KSA and the UAE. We have also invested heavily in terms of products with the Arabic market in mind," insists Brihi.

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