Google 'Speak to Tweet' gives Egyptian protesters 140 character lifeline

Gerald Lynch Tech Digest news, Twitter Leave a Comment

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Google’s ‘Speak to Tweet’ tool, launched only on Monday is already proving its worth by offering the thousands of Egyptian protesters a way of communicating with the outside world via the internet.

Egypt, which is currently facing a series of tumultuos demonstrations in an attempt to overthrow the long-standing president Hosni Mubarak, has effectively experienced a governement-enforced internet blackout during the protests in an attempt to contain violence and revolutionary gatherings.

Sites like Twitter and Facebook had previously been used to organise the movement, but have now been inaccessible for nearly a week. Egyptian protesters have now turned to ‘Speak to Tweet’ to get reports of the viloent clashes to the outside world.

The service works by allowing users to leave a message on an international phone number, which is then converted into a tweets over on the @speaktotweet Twitter page. The message’s country of origin is displayed, and a link provides playback of the original voicemail message. Speak To Tweet makes use of one of Google’s latest start-up acqusitions, speech recognition company SayNow.

Volunteer site Alive in Egypt are translating the tweets.

UPDATE: Word coming in now that full internet access has been restored to Egypt. More news as we get it.

By Gerald Lynch | February 2nd, 2011