Archive for the ‘Saudi Arabia’ Category

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.

NaqaTube: A “Purified” Collection Of YouTube Videos

| August 27, 2009 – 2:08 pm | comment 6 Comments

NaqaTubeNaqaTube is a service that was launched a couple of months ago from Saudi Arabia, and that aims to offer a clean alternative to YouTube, preventing youth from watching profane or sexually explicit video clips online. (The word ‘Naqa’ means ‘pure’ in Arabic.)

The site features a collection of “clean” and edited clips from YouTube, cutting out all profanities or sexually explicit clips, as well as censoring videos that are deemed negative towards to the Kingdom’s government, scholars and citizens in general.

In keeping with strict religious guidelines, clips that have music are edited and their music removed, while images of women are banned. NaqaTube visitors are also able to edit their own clips through the site before uploading them online.

Much of the material on the site is religiously inclined and the site’s front page displays links to over 10 channels mainly featuring scholars, preachers, children and other Islamic-related material.

NaqaTube

According to one of the moderators of NaqaTube, the site has received nearly 5,000 to 6,000 visitors since its launch two months ago.

NaqaTube was created by Saudi web development company House.

Mo3jam, A User Generated Dictionary Of Colloquial Arabic

| August 2, 2009 – 8:48 am | comment 6 Comments

Mo3jamMo3jam is a new interesting service which aims to build a user generated dictionary of colloquial Arabic. (Mo3jam is an Arabic word that means lexicon or dictionary.)

The idea of the website is that users from all around the Arab world will be able to come in and share the different spoken terms and expressions used in the various accents and dialects available in all the Arab countries.

Mo3jam hopes to create a central, multilingual knowledgebase of colloquial Arabic, emphasising ease of use and breadth; with the service open to anyone to contribute without any limitations.

Terms can be defined using Arabic (which is the preferred language), English, or French. And even if a term is already defined in the system, users can still their own definition for it, with the best quality definitions bubbling up to the top through users voting on them and adding them to their favorites.

Most major dialects of Arabic are currently listed, but the list is not a fixed one. The system was designed to have multiple levels of dialects and sub-dialects. So suggestions for adding dialects or sub-dialects can be made to the site’s founder.

Mo3jam

Registration to the site is not mandatory to start using it or adding terms, although users who want to can either use the regular site registration or login using Facebook Connect.

The site is nicely designed, simple and usable; and is currently available in both Arabic and English.

Mo3jam was created by Abdullah Arif who is from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but currently living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Argaam Opens Up To Contributions Through Alpha Beta

| June 7, 2009 – 3:19 pm | comment 1 Comment

Alpha BetaArgaam, the Arabic financial portal, has just launched Alpha Beta, a section of the portal for informed visitors to contribute through posting their analysis of news and events taking place in the market, as well as any information that they might have that isn’t necessarily common knowledge to everyone interested in the stock market and economy in general.

Alpha Beta is open for direct contributions in the form of articles, news, opinions, analysis about regional or worldwide stock markets, investment opportunities; as well as comments and followup on articles published on the portal.

Argaam hope to create a vibrant open environment for discussion and sharing of new ideas, enabling the portal’s visitors to connect, interact and exchange opinions and information that will help enrich and develop the investment culture in the Arab world.

The portal’s editors will go over submitted material before it is published to make sure of its quality, accuracy and reliability, as well as its adherence to the guidelines for these articles, which ask for them to be focused, unbiased and precise among other criteria.

It’s an interesting move from Argaam, attempting to tap into the knowledge of the crowds for insider information about a financial market where there’s more to each story than what figures in the official press releases and news, in addition to all that takes place behind the scenes.

As with the parent portal Argaam, Alpha Beta is available in Arabic only.

Kammelna: An Online Multi-player Baloot Card Game Service

| April 6, 2009 – 10:26 am | comment No Comments

KammelnaTaking its first step into the online gaming world, Saudi web company Remal IT has launched a beta of its ‘Baloot’ card game site, Kammelna.

Kammelna is an online multi-player ‘Baloot‘ game, a popular card game played in Saudi Arabia (which is quite similar to the French game Belote), that is built in Flash and runs in a browser.

Being a flash game, the game does not require downloading, and is played directly from within the browser, featuring a simple Arabic interface that is geared toward getting the players started with a game as easily and quickly as possible. 

The game also supports firewall traversal, which will allow players to play the game even from within restricted networks.

Kammelna

Remal IT noted that Kammelna.com basic playing features will be free, and that the site will be supported through ads and extra paid playing features. They also hope to roll out more free online games, geared towards the Arab market, in the future.

Remal IT is a Saudi based Internet applications and services startup that was established back in 2005. It owns and operates a network of social sites and Internet applications, and relies on e-commerce and e-marketing for revenues.

Ehsaeyat, Open Free Survey Service Around Technology Topics

| April 2, 2009 – 10:24 am | comment No Comments

EhsaeyatEhsaeyat is a new Arabic service that was launched a couple of months ago by Bluemeel as an open and free service holding and publishing results of surveys, mainly around technology topics.

Surveys done by Ehsaeyat are open and free for everyone to access and make use of, in an attempt to help academic researchers as well as business people find the numbers they need for their research and businesses.

The service is aimed at everyone, but mainly at people who don’t have the budget to go to one of the market research companies out there for the numbers and details they need.

Anyone can suggest surveys to be launched and then shared through the site. The surveys done by Eshaeyat are managed through SurveyMonkey, and then their results are published for everyone to access.

The service should come in handy for a number of people, and I think it could be used by internet startups to try and collect more information to help them with their first steps.

Ehsaeyat is still at its beginnings, and a good start it is, I just think they should try to put more focus on their ongoing surveys, and on getting them out there to more people from different backgrounds, incomes, …etc., in order to have a better and more significant result set.

Restaurant Review Service Qaym Releases New Version

| March 24, 2009 – 10:09 pm | comment 4 Comments

QaymQaym, the Arab website for user generated restaurant and coffee shop reviews, that was previously reviewed here, recently celebrated the launch of it’s new redesigned interface and additional features.

Qaym is an online project through which users rate and review restaurants and coffee shops, in addition to uploading pictures of them and their food items, discussing their positives and negatives and posting relevant information about them.

Each restaurant has its own page that contains information about it (including location, branches, type of offered food, etc.) and reviews of the people who visited it and tried its food, which can range from enthusiastic delight to obvious disappointment. There’s a gauge in each page showing the average user rating of the restaurant.

The new version includes a re-branding for the service, introducing a new logo, and a new more simplistic and organized design for the homepage, as well as some other design tweaks for the inside pages.

An important new feature that has been introduced is the ability to pinpoint the location of a restaurant and its different branches on a map; to make it easier for people to find them. This is done through the integration of Google Maps.

Other than that the site’s rating system has been enhanced and extended to allow users to rate each other’s reviews, posts and photos.

The site currently focuses on food and drink establishments, and intends to expand so that the community can rate and review any charged service or product, ultimately aiming to provide an honest, user- and consumer-driven community in which people’s real experiences are shared and published so that they can be the basis of people’s decisions to buy or use a product or service, instead of attractive advertisements and ubiquitous billboards.

New Version For Al-Fawaed Social Knowledge Sharing Service

| March 23, 2009 – 6:00 pm | comment No Comments

Al FawaedAfter around a year and a half without releasing any new features, the team behind Al-Fawaed, the Arab social knowledge sharing site has gone and launched a new version of their online service.

Al-Fawaed is a service that lets users share the useful and most interesting points they’ve taken away from reading a certain book or article, listening to a lecture, watching a television program, or even from a personal life experience, in the form of summaries or mind map diagrams.

The new version includes a slight re-design aimed at making the site more user friendly and the information shared on it more organized and accessible. The homepage has been changed to show the latest summaries and mind maps in respective columns, instead of defaulting to the summaries page.

A number of the page elements have also been revamped and re-organized around the page to better present them to the user.

Al-Fawaed

A section offering the user some randomly selected entries to discover has been added to the side of the page, offering an entry point to more summaries or mind maps. At the end of each entry, there is also a new section serving up links to other entries, as well as the previous and next ones.

The possibility to share entries with friends through the most popular online social bookmarking and social networking services has been integrated into the system as well.

A number of technical enhancements have been added to the system too, including keyboard shortcuts to make the creation of summaries and lists easier, tag suggestions, better support for the most popular browsers among others.

Al-Fawaed

Kn.tc (Konashah), An Arabic Online Notebook Application

| March 9, 2009 – 10:04 pm | comment 4 Comments

kn.tcKn.tc, which stands for Konashah, a word that means notebook in Arabic, is just as its name suggests an Arabic online notebook application, made to provide a place for Arab internet users to jot down and save their thoughts, favorite quotes and sites, and anything they’d like to be able to go back to and find in the future.

Konashah enables users to create as many online notebooks to group their notes into as many different categories and themes as they wish.

A Firefox plugin was created for Konashah that enables users to directly start typing their notes from within the browser extension without having to go to the Kn.tc website every time, or to simply select the text they want to clip on any given web page and send it to their notebooks right away.

kn.tc

The design is very simplistic and the interface is really easy to use, with Ajax integration making management of notebooks, as well as updates and changes on notes within them quick and light.

Konashah was developed by Mazen Melibari from Saudi Arabia and is only available in Arabic.

Kn.tc (Konashah)

DemoCamp Saudi – King Saud University, Riyadh – (March 11th)

| March 8, 2009 – 9:47 pm | comment 5 Comments

DemoCamp Saudi

The first DemoCamp Saudi; a launch event in Saudi Arabia for new products, technologies and companies; will be taking place at King Saud University in Riyadh on March 11th in hall #26.

The following seven demos will be taking place at the event:

  • 3zeema: An Arab social event organization and invitation service, that was previously reviewed here.
  • Fwateer: An online service that enables businesses selling online to bill their clients directly through their bank accounts.
  • Moshtry: A service that provides tips and advice on what products to buy and use, allowing users to share their own experiences as well.
  • Kammelna: An online Baloot group card game site.
  • Books Exchange: An online book exchange service.
  • Qaym: An online service for user generated restaurant reviews, previously reviewed here.
  • Dorat: An online central resource for all training opportunities provided by companies.

The format will be the same as other DemoCamp events in the region, with the presenters giving a 10 minute presentation of their work, with another 5 minutes for Q&A.

The presenters will also be available to answer any further questions, receive feedback and share some thoughts after the event.

Startups and web applications presented at DemoCamp Saudi will also be reviewed here on StartUpArabia.

[Updated 09/03/09: Two other demos have been added (Qaym and Dorat), bringing the total to seven demos.]

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