Archive for the ‘Egypt’ Category

Yallakora Launches Mobile Version of Yallakora TV

| January 16, 2010 – 7:12 pm | comment 1 Comment

YallakoraYallakora, one of the popular sports portals in the region has announced the launch of a mobile version of Yallakora TV, giving users the possibility to access sports news and information, as well as watch match commentary and analysis directly from their mobile phones, while on the go.

Yallakora, which is owned and run by LINKonLINE (a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom Holding), is available in both English and Arabic, providing full coverage to different sports with a bigger focus on Football, through publishing various details and news regarding Football leagues and championships in the Middle East, North Africa and others. This includes team news, player information and statistics, match results as well as analysis for Football matches

Yallakora’s new effort isn’t through an application that has to be downloaded and installed, all users have to do is point their mobile phone browsers to to access the mobile version of the site, and access the information and news on the site, as well as mobile phone compatible video streaming of interviews, match analysis and the contents of Yallakora’s video library.

A number of Arab entrepreneurs and startups are currently looking more and more to the mobile phone as a practical way to provide their services, especially with the high and growing mobile penetration around the region. We can surely expect a number of other announcements revolving around mobile in the coming year.

Taya IT Launches Beta Of Yajeel Content Discovery Portal

| January 14, 2010 – 11:42 am | comment No Comments

YajeelTaya IT, a regional specialist in Enterprise and internet search applications, has announced the beta launch of Yajeel, a new content discovery portal which aims to play the role of an independent gateway to some of the best online content from Arabia.

The portal is in Arabic only, and uses Taya IT’s advanced search technologies to provide Arabic internet users with a new tool to easily discover and share Arabic content online,

Through the Yajeel homepage, users will be able to find the highlights from Arabic content around the web, search through content, as well as navigate through content specific web channels that serve as dedicated portals to the most popular topics available from third-party web publishers. With the beta launch, the only channel available now is a football news service containing the latest news and fixtures from Middle Eastern and international football.

The service also integrates a ranking tool, that allows users to rate the content they view and push it up or down in the listing of “most popular” pages.


The technology behind Yajeel intelligently classifies Arabic internet content, giving users access to a continuously updated stream of relevant web pages categorized according to topics of interest. Users can then customize the stream controlling what they see and how they see it, as well as share content from all web channels with their friends.

The official release is expected to be sometime in February 2010, with a number of new extra features and additional web channels products.

# Yajeel

Arab Auction Portal Launches Operations In Egypt

| December 22, 2009 – 12:56 pm | comment 1 Comment, the Arab online auctions company, that is a subsidiary of Jabbar Internet Group, has officially launched operations in another country in the region: Egypt.

The Egyptian version of is available in both Arabic and English, hoping to tap into one of the biggest internet markets in the Arab world in terms of number of users with over 12 Million internet users as of June 2009 according to ITU numbers (15.9% out of a population of nearly 80 Million). has been cautious not to attempt to grow too fast and launch the service for the whole region at one go, preferring to set up operations country by country, having staff on the ground in each country to manage the system and make sure users (both sellers and buyers) get the most out of the system and are fully satisfied, also aiming to overcome any trust or security fears.

A number of listings have already started showing up on the site, and one of the offers the service is currently giving is free pickup and delivery in Cairo and Alexandria.

With this launch, now operates in four countries: United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and now Egypt.

LancersCafe: A New Freelance & Outsourcing Portal For The Arab World

| December 8, 2009 – 11:23 am | comment 6 Comments

LancersCafe.comLancersCafe is a new freelance and outsourcing portal for the Arab world, launched to manage the relation between companies and individuals who need to hire a freelancer to get a job done and the freelancers themselves.

The idea is one that has been applied globally a number of times by sites like RentACoder and Elance. LancersCafe brings the concept to the region.

The idea is pretty simple, a company needs a certain job done but they don’t have the need to hire a full-time employee for it, so they look at contracting someone to do that job for them. On the other hand, you have freelancers, people who take on individual projects, and who are always on the lookout for new projects they can take on to make their living.

LancersCafe aims to be a platform to connect the companies looking for people to take on certain jobs for them with the freelancers looking for those jobs, and to govern the whole relationship between them so that the projects goes as smoothly as possibly, reducing the possibility of any problems arising from either side throughout the project lifecycle.

The service is free for both companies (buyers) and freelancers (providers) to join. The buyers get to post their project for free, listing the skills they need, the timeline for their project, their budget range and other project requirements; Providers can build their profile and portfolio, search for projects and then send in their proposals, that the buyer can review, evaluate and negotiate, before making their choice.


LancersCafe also offers both buyers and providers special online training courses on the best way to use the system and get their work done online.

The site covers 175 specialties, starting from Data Entry and passing by programming, web design, article writing, graphic design, fashion design and up to Marketing, accountancy, engineering and landscaping and a lot of other professions.

LancersCafe was launched from Egypt, and is open for companies and freelancers from around the Middle East, offering companies the opportunity to get their work done cost-effectively, and freelancers the chance to find projects easily and make more money.

Egyptian Mrrha Acquired By UAE Company Creative Solutions

| November 18, 2009 – 7:38 pm | comment No Comments

MrrhaMrrha, an Arab online service  that was launched from Egypt around a simple idea to allow users to upload a file and mirror it directly on up to five popular uploading sites of choice, has been acquired by Emirati company Creative Solutions.

Mrrha was launched in November 2008 by brothers Mahmoud and Ahmed El-Masoudy from Egypt, aiming to make the process of uploading files to the internet for sharing purposes and mirroring them on the most famous file uploading services a lot easier and faster.

Mrrha depends on a parallel uploading mechanism to make this possible, which means that the file will be uploaded to Mrrha and sent to the other uploading sites at the same time, making it so that the user won’t have to wait until it’s uploaded to each site.

Creative SolutionsCreative Solutions, the acquiring company, is a web development company founded by Khamis AlSharyani in 2008, based in Alain (UAE), that provides web consulting, solutions and services for its clients. The company is a subsidiary of Bin Majed group.

The details of the deal have not been made public.

Kotob Arabia Bets On Mobile Fueling Arab e-Book Revolution

| September 13, 2009 – 2:31 pm | comment 2 Comments

KotobArabiaKotob Arabia, a Cairo-based online publisher of more than 4,000 Arabic e-books, and its founder and director Ramy Habeeb, foresee that mobile phones’ deep market penetration in the region, combined with the most popular e-book readers’ high price tags and inability to read Arabic’s right-to-left script, make the mobile phone a platform of choice for any coming e-book revolution in the Arab world.

Kotob Arabia recently signed a deal to create the first Arabic mobile book reader with Blackbetty Mobilmedia, a Viennese company that creates software that make books readable on mobile phones. The partners plan to present a prototype of the new Arabic mobile e-book reader at next month’s Frankfurt Book Fair.

Blackbetty and Kotobarabia plan to roll out a premium SMS billing system in which e-book purchases would show up on a buyer’s phone bill, starting with Vodafone in Germany, then Vodafone in Egypt and other mobile networks across the region.

Kotob Arabia became an affiliate of Sarmady, the popular Egyptian internet portal that was acquired by Vodafone Egypt last year, and so it already has a relationship with the company that should make it easier for them to roll out their mobile e-book service with them.

In May, the company made an important step of switching from a traditional e-book sales approach to a subscription service, where readers pay a subscription fee and then get access to the full book catalogue. This would give readers access to the list of books they know as well as to books by other authors who aren’t as famous. This way the reader benefits, and on the other hand all authors who have their e-books on the service get a chance to be read and start making money out of it.

This subscription model also is quite an appealing one for the mobile realm, one that can’t be realised in more developed markets because of book price regulation.

Source: The National

The Internet Captures Eyeballs Away From TV In Egypt

| September 9, 2009 – 12:09 pm | comment No Comments

Arab Advisors GroupA new Arab Advisors’ survey of Internet users in Egypt revealed that the peak time for browsing the Internet for entertainment and personal issues is after 9 PM which coincides with the peak time for TV viewing, confirming that Internet -especially broadband- has become a major competitor for TV amongst Internet users in Egypt

This online survey of Egypt Internet users revealed that the Internet was the most common source amongst respondents for getting daily and global news (69.7%), getting information (97.6%) and for looking for job vacancies (57.1%).

The survey also revealed that international players have the largest share of email and search services where 85.8% of respondents, who have an email account, use Yahoo and 99.0% of respondents, who use search engines, use Google. Regional players lag far behind with shares of less than 4%.

In addition to that, it showed that a majority (94.7%) of respondents had a landline phone in their house. 93.5% of respondents had a desktop computer, which is expected as the survey is of Internet users in Egypt.

The new survey of the Internet users in Egypt was concluded by the Arab Advisors Group on August 2009, and released under the title ‘A Survey of Internet Use and Online Advertising Consumption and Effectiveness in Egypt‘ (Table of Contents PDF) on September 1, 2009. The survey covers media consumption habits, online use habits and trends, online advertising and online security.

The survey results encompass answers from 3,348 randomly targeted respondents from the general internet population. Quality control was conducted by Arab Advisors Group’s team, and they claim a confidence level of 99% with a margin of error of less than 3% for it.

Google Launches Four New Arabic Editions Of Google News

| September 2, 2009 – 1:05 pm | comment 2 Comments

Google News EgyptGoogle just announced the launch of four new Arabic editions of Google News for Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Users in these countries can now access Google News editions specific to their country and get the latest headlines in topics such as Politics, Business, Sports, Entertainment and more.

This is part of Google’s ongoing push to provide local services and more relevant information and news for users, starting with these four countries that represent more than 24 million Arabic-speaking internet users.

Google News

Like all Google News editions, these computer-generated Arabic editions aggregate headlines from thousands of news outlets around the world, group similar stories together and link directly to the original sources that publish these stories. This enables users to search for topics they’re interested in, and read a wide variety of perspectives from different sources.

It seems there are plans by Google to continue rolling out more local editions for the rest of the Arab countries in the near future.

Iconty: An Arabic Search Engine For Website Icons

| July 12, 2009 – 9:39 pm | comment No Comments

IcontyIconty is a new niche Arabic search engine, specifically created for web designers and developers, to provide them with an easy way to search for and find icons to use for certain functions on the websites they are building.

Iconty aims to be a central repository for icons, where users can come and search for icons using Arabic keywords, or even English ones, to find the ones best suited for their needs.

Users can sign-up to the service for free and start uploading  their own icons to share on the site so that other people can download and use them as well.

Users can add icons individually through a simple form where they specify the file, the owner and the tags; or upload a zip file with a whole icon set, and then input the details for each icon.


Iconty is still in beta; work on it started in February 2009 by a team of three family members: Mahmoud, Mohamed and Alia Rida. The team are currently working on enhancing the organization of the platform and how icon result sets are displayed, as well as making it even easier for users to find icons.

# Iconty

Microsoft Maren: A New Windows Arabic Transliteration Tool

| July 1, 2009 – 3:51 pm | comment 19 Comments

Microsoft MarenMicrosoft has gone on and launched a new application called ‘Maren‘, making its entrance into the Arabic transliteration space.

Microsoft Maren was developed to be a Windows extension that allows you to type Arabic in Roman characters (Romanized Arabic, Arabizi, Arabish or Franco-Arabic) and have it converted on the fly to Arabic script. Maren integrates seamlessly with Windows and works in most Windows applications and websites.

Users around the Arab world widely use romanized Arabic in instant messaging and on social networking sites, and Microsoft’s Maren is following in the footsteps of Yamli and Google’s Ta3reeb in offering these users the possibility to have whatever text they type converted into Arabic.

Up to this point Yamli has been the user favorite in the region, with a number of portals integrating their service, a Firefox toolbar extension that many people were glad to get and even an unofficial Yamli extension called Arabzi that exists for MSN Messenger. Yamli also uses its transliteration technology as a basis to enrich and provide better Arabic search online.

Microsoft MarenWhat Microsoft’s Maren offers as a plus is the possibility to integrate the transliteration technology into Windows, and use it everywhere, not just online through a browser; so basically users can use Maren while typing in a Word document or on Instant Messenger or any other Windows application.

The fact that the tool is installed on the user’s machine also means that the solution is available to the user even when he’s offline, and it could even be a bit faster than other solutions that have to send requests back to a server.

It should be really interesting to see how much user adoption Maren will get, but however that works out, this is quite a good effort from Microsoft.

Microsoft Maren was developed by the Cairo Microsoft Innovation Center (CMIC), a Microsoft group representing the company interest in applied research and development initiatives in the Middle East and Africa.

Microsoft Maren

Update: I talked to Habib Haddad, co-founder of Yamli, a bit after the publication of this story, and he commented “I guess big companies recognize a good idea when they see it, as an Arabic startup we are flattered to see this happen. As you know our focus has always been on the user so stay tuned for new releases from Yamli.”

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