Google and Twitter partnered over the weekend to provide Egyptians a workaround for accessing tweets without an internet connection. In light of the Egyptian government shutting down first Twitter and then the entire internet within the country, Google and Twitter developed a speak-to-tweet service.
Announced on the Official Google Blog Monday, this new technology will allow anyone to access tweets with just a voice connection – which many Egyptians still have.
The blog explains that engineers from Twitter, Google, and Google’s recently acquired SpeakNow worked together to create this new technology.
Anyone around the world can leave a voicemail at one of three international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855), and their voice recording will be transcribed into a tweet, tagged with the hashtag #egypt. The voice-to-tweet messages can be listened to by dialing one of the listed phone numbers, or by accessing http://twitter.com/speak2tweet.
This is a very forward-thinking move from these companies. Twitter in particular has been vocal about the need for the open exchange of information, and the company has traditionally decried any form of censorship of its services.
Just this Friday, the Twitter Blog posted a manifesto of sorts reaffirming the company’s commitment to protecting its users’ rights to the freedom of speech, obviously in response to Egypt’s blocking of the internet last week. The blog post was co-written by Twitter founder Biz Stone.