Google lets Egypt send voice tweets sans Internet

By on January 31, 2011, 8:14 PM
In response to the Internet blackout in Egypt, a small group of engineers from Google, Twitter and SayNow have developed a "speak-to-tweet" service that lets anyone send messages over Twitter without an Internet connection. Users can tweet by leaving a voice message at one of three international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855).

Tweets sent from the service will automatically use the #egypt hashtag and you can listen to the messages of others by calling the same phone numbers or at twitter.com/speak2tweet. Most of the messages aren't in English and many are just people testing the service, but some are truly alarming.


"Like many people we've been glued to the news unfolding in Egypt and thinking of what we could do to help people on the ground," Google said in a blog post. "We hope that this will go some way to helping people in Egypt stay connected at this very difficult time. Our thoughts are with everyone there."

Google's announcement comes as Egypt's last standing ISP is disabled. Noor Group, a DSL provider, managed to remain online last week as the Egyptian government ordered ISPs to pull the plug. Unfortunately, Noor's traffic appears to have trickled to a halt. "As of approximately 20:46 UTC, Noor is no longer reachable from outside of Egypt," reported Renesys, an Internet monitoring firm.

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