As the Egyptian government feverishly tries to cut off all contact with the outside world, Google, working in collaboration with Twitter, has set up an innovative service for Egyptians desperate to communicate and stay in touch. It’s a service called voice to tweet, and relies on software from a company called SayNow that Google purchased only last week.
Google writes on its blog: “Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service—the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection.”
People with a working telephone can call a number and leave a voicemail. The speak-to-tweet service automatically puts the voicemail on a web page that is then linked in a Twitter message posted to Google’s Speak2tweet Twitter account.
With the last remaining major ISP, Noor Group, going offline on Monday, ordinary Egyptians have been finding it harder and harder to organise and communicate. Hacks are springing up all over the place, including ham radio services and free international dial-up numbers in a bid to provide support for the popular uprising.
News aggregator The Huffington Post reports that “Egypt’s other ISPs, such as Etisalat Misr, Link Egypt, Telecom Egypt, and Raya, shut off the country’s connection to the internet last week.”
Danny O’Brien at CPJ.org created this graph to illustrate the blackout.