Tag Archives: Google in the Middle East

Driving growth in the Middle East

The Nest is an online store that offers curated handcrafts from Egypt, from home accessories to fashion and furniture. When the pandemic started, founders Dina and Omar had to close their physical showroom, which used to drive 90% of their sales. They listed their business details on Google Maps and Search, promoted their products online and revamped their website which, in less than a year, became their main source of revenue.

According to a new report published by Public First research agency and commissioned by Google, our products and tools in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia helped businesses to adapt during the pandemic and helped people sharpen their skills and find jobs.

The report shows 45% of people in Egypt last year used Google Maps to find a local business and 52% of businesses in Saudi Arabia reported an increased proportion of their customers coming from online search or search advertising.

Since opening our first office in the Middle East and North Africa 13 years ago, Google has been actively supporting local businesses and developers, YouTube content creators, and publishers. Public First estimates that last year Google products like Search, YouTube, Android and Google Ads drove 12.2 billion SAR [3.2 billion USD] to the Saudi economy, 11.3 billion AED [3 billion USD] to the UAE economy and 11.2 billion EGP [600 million USD] to Egypt's economy.

Growing developers and creators

Manal, Saudi YouTube creator, shows how she tailors trousers on her YouTube channel

Manal, DIY content creator on YouTube in Saudi Arabia. Photo credit: Manal’s YouTube page

Manal, from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, has a passion for DIY in fashion and home improvement. She started her YouTube channel to share her knowledge in upcycling dresses and scarves to make trousers, and repainting her room for Ramadan. Manal’s work has inspired others, and her community often share their own versions of her designs and ask for DIY tips. When she built her channel during the pandemic, her subscribers grew by over 300%. Manal is one of many talented creators in Saudi Arabia growing their business on YouTube. In fact, the percentage of YouTube channels in Saudi Arabia making six figures or more in revenue is up more than 20% year over year. That's a sign of steady growth in Saudi Arabia’s YouTube creator community.

Founder of Lamsa, Badr Ward, stands, smiling, with his arms folded

Badr Ward, founder of Lamsa World, an Arabic educational platform in the UAE. Photo credit: Hub71

Lamsa World is an educational platform in Arabic for children. It has interactive courses in math, science, language, arts and more. Badr Ward, the Dubai-based founder, wanted to help his children watch more educational content in Arabic, which was sparse and not always engaging. Badr and his team took part in the Google Accelerator Program in Dubai last year and, with the help of mentors, tested different sign-up options and experimented with different content formats. This led to a significant increase in the website's sign-up rates and a 300% increase in Arabic content downloads.

Unlocking skills and jobs

Since its launch in 2018, Maharat min Google, Google's digital skills program in Arabic, has trained 1.5 million people in the Middle East and North Africa. And in October 2020, Google announced a $13 million USD fund for digital tools, training programs, mentorship and financial grants to support businesses and job seekers in the Middle East and North Africa during the pandemic. Following Google's mentorship program with Mercy Corps, 50% of trainees said that they found a job, accelerated their career or grew their business by hiring new staff or increasing revenue.

Google Search also played a big role in helping people in the region access information and skills last year. For example, 85% of people in the UAE said they used Search to learn a new skill.

People looked for jobs too. Every month, around 11 million women in Egypt go to Search to look for a job. In Saudi Arabia, 1.8 million people use Search to prepare for a job interview. According to the World Economic Forum, many women are contributing to the innovation coming out of the Middle East and North Africa, yet this region continues to have one of the lowest levels of female economic involvement globally.

Public First estimates there are already 85,000 Android-based developer jobs in Egypt and 50,000 in the UAE. In Saudi Arabia, the total number of developers making USD 10,000 per month on Google Play grew by 16% last year.

We are proud that people in the Middle East and North Africa are able to unlock opportunities for themselves with the help of Google products and tools. The region is young, smart and digital, and Google is committed to doing more to help entrepreneurs, local business owners, developers and content creators get the skills they need to build and grow their digital businesses.

If you want to understand more about Google's impact in the Middle East and North Africa, and the methodology behind the report, visit the links below:

Belonging at Google in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Building for everyone requires vision, and constant revision. Every product we create requires continually trying new things, examining data and learning from both our successes and failures to do better every day. Our work on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is no different. Google first published its Diversity Annual Report in 2014 and since then we’ve built on what we’ve learned to increasingly make Google a place that is truly for everyone. Last year, for the first time, the data in the report was broken down across Google’s business regions. With this year’s report we now have the opportunity to report on progress for the business region that encompasses Europe, the Middle East and Africa which we call EMEA.

I’ve led Google’s DEI programs in EMEA since 2019. I’m often asked what DEI looks like in such a diverse region. How can one approach work from Paris to Lagos and from Milan to Tel Aviv? It’s not simple, but we are committed to finding ways to make progress. Each country has different rules governing what data we can collect and what policies are permissible. Our DEI data isn’t perfect, but it’s essential for us to measure our progress as it helps keep us honest about where we are at and where we want to be.

Representation of women in EMEA

The data shows that we have increased the overall representation of women in our workforce from 32.7% to 33.8%. That might sound small, but in an organization the size of Google in EMEA (over 25,000 employees and interns) this represents a significant shift.

We continue to make progress in the hiring of women in EMEA with an overall increase of 14%. Specifically, women made up 28% of our tech hires, 49.2% of our non-tech hires and 47.1% of our Leadership hires. This is an increase year on year of 27% for non-tech and 64% for leadership hires with tech hires staying the same.

Our focus on increasing representation of women in leadership roles across EMEA is showing promising results. We saw a significant gain of 10% in the representation of women in leadership roles which now stands at 29.7%. It’s good to see progress, but there is more to do here.

We know efforts to develop talent from under-represented groups need to start early. We have amplified our efforts to support gender equity in a number of countries in Africa, sponsoring and providing content for the Our Girls, Our Future conference for young women interested in the tech industry. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, we partnered with the Graca Machel Trust to provide digital skills training for more than 5,000 women entrepreneurs.

We also grew Mind the Gap, an initiative we started in Israel in 2008 that encourages women and girls to pursue STEM careers. Mind the Gap transitioned to a virtual platform at the beginning of the pandemic. In 2021, the program reached more than 60,000 students in Israel and expanded to Romania and Ghana.

Racial equity in EMEA

Last year, for the first time, we were able to report race data for our business region in the Diversity Annual Report, thanks to almost three quarters of Googlers in EMEA voluntarily providing this information.

We see White+* continue to account for the highest representation in EMEA (78.1% versus 80.4% last year). Representation of Asian+* Googlers shows the largest increase (from 10.9% to 12.1%), followed by MENA+* (from 7.3% to 7.8%), Black+* (from 2.8% to 3.2%), Latinx+ (from 3.8% to 3.9%) and Indigenous+ (no change at 0.3%).

Where we need to make better progress is in the speed at which things are changing. For example, there has been an increase in representation of MENA+ leaders (from 4.5% to 5.8%) and an increase in representation of Black+ leaders (from 3.3% to 3.8%) across EMEA - but we need to see more progress here. And representation for all racial categories except Black+ and White+ are lower in leadership than in the overall population.

Growing leadership is one of the key planks of our racial equity plans in EMEA. Here’s how we’re focusing our efforts:

  • In recruiting: In 2021, we set an aspiration to double the number of Black+ directors by 2023. Additionally, we aim to drive Black+ representation at all levels across our talent engagement, outreach initiatives and inclusive hiring commitments.
  • Baseline data: Where legally permissible, we have started to collect application data to help understand the representation of our candidates.
  • Nurturing talent: We relaunched Elevate+, a six-month-long EMEA specific program that offers one-on-one mentorship and coaching to Black+ employees. To date, nearly 200 Googlers have participated in this program.
  • Educating majority groups: We continue to engage Googlers through comprehensive anti-racism and racial equity education, such as trainings and our speaker series on racial justice. We also have a thriving community of allyship groups across EMEA.

It’s not just about supporting racial equity in our workforce — it’s also important to support the wider community. Black founders in EMEA received $63 million in ‘follow-on’ funding after they participated in our Black Founders Fund, with 95% of participants reporting a positive impact on their startup’s ability to fundraise. We announced a second fund earlier this year.

Disability in EMEA

Our recruiting teams and local HR teams work closely with our Disability Alliance group to progress our commitments to communities with disabilities, ensuring that our hiring process is accessible and our culture and managers are prepared to support and lead Googlers with disabilities.

Our talent engagement team in EMEA hosted its first ever Disability Conference (DisCo for short) for nearly 2000 students, new graduates and industry professionals with disabilities. The conference created a space for people with disabilities and allies to connect and engage with each other and Google.

We’re also fostering new connections with disability communities around the globe. Last year, our London, Dublin, Munich, Zurich, Wroclaw and Nairobi offices celebrated #PurpleLightUp, a global campaign that celebrates every employee with a disability around the world. Leaders from each office also held conversations with our employee resource group (ERG) for Googlers with disabilities.

LGBTQ+ representation in EMEA

We have incredibly active Pride and Trans employee resource groups at Google. These groups play a critical role in promoting belonging and inclusion within the LGBTQ+ community - from creating thoughtful programming for Trans Awareness week to leading Pride events activations across 26 countries, from Poland to South Africa.

Google is also a founding member of We Are Open, an alliance of businesses and other organizations in Hungary that promotes diversity and inclusion at the workplace, focusing on LGBTQ+ inclusion. In line with Google’s vision to be helpful for all, including our LGBTQ+ communities and its allies, we were excited to partner with Open for Business in creating a report on LGBTQ+ inclusion in Central and Eastern Europe that was released last year.

In addition, to aid small business recovery during the pandemic, we launched a global campaign to help support and celebrate LGBTQ+ friendly spaces - from a LGBTQ+ bookstore in Sweden, to Rainbow Square in Copenhagen. Google also officially supported the Ja Für Alle campaign in the referendum for Equal Marriage rights in Switzerland.

In conclusion

It’s up to every one of us to contribute to building a more inclusive, equitable, and representative workplace, region and world where everyone feels they belong. We have a responsibility to relentlessly represent and support the rich diversity of talent in our region and to make Google a place where everyone can thrive. This work is not a one-off effort. It requires thoughtful and committed, ongoing systemic action. Only by committing to doing this work together can we make meaningful and long lasting change.

If you’d like to find out more, please take a look at this year’s Diversity Annual Report.

Step into the Meroë pyramids with Google

When you think of pyramids does your mind wander to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the Mayan Temples of Guatemala? Great civilizations built each of these pyramids and inscribed their stories onto the walls of them, offering glimpses into their daily life.

The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan, while lesser known, are no different. Today, you can explore these stunning pyramids, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site, on Google Arts & Culture.

Over 200 pyramids were constructed in Meroë, the third and final capital of the Kushite Kingdom, an ancient African civilization that ruled the lands of Nubia for over 3000 years. Now you can take a virtual walk through the Pyramids of Meroë and explore the inscriptions using Street View’s panoramic imagery. You can also learn more about the Kushite Kingdom, their royalty and the architecture behind the pyramids in an immersive web experience that’s available in a range of languages including Arabic, English, French, German and Spanish.

If you want to get even more up close and personal, you can visualize the pyramids using augmented reality — no matter where you are. You can also listen to acclaimed Sudanese-American poet Emi Mahmood share evocative rhymes that are a beautiful ode to her homeland and to this project that shares Sudan’s rich heritage with others.

We’ve also partnered with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO) to bring you more information about Meroë, Gebel Barkal and Napatan region and Sudan’s Sanganeb Marine National Park.

Finding more focus this Ramadan

Ramadan is one of the most special times of the year. For me, it has always been about extended family (a lot of them!) and food (my favorite being the dates that would be at the table for breaking iftar — I loved starting with something we'd normally have as dessert). I’ve always found that one of the most important things about Ramadan is that it’s a chance to focus on the things that matter, and this year Google is making it easier to find prayer times, greetings and even that multicooker that will help those who observe prepare iftar. Here’s a glimpse at what you can expect from us this year.

  1. Easier access to useful and reliable Ramadan information on Search

Searches for Ramadan-related queries have grown by 25% over the past two years, and we’ve made it easier to find everything you’re looking for in one place. Simply search for “Ramadan” and you’ll find a dedicated section spanning prayer times[183ed9], news, greetings and more.

If you’d like a “101” experience of moonsighting, look out for our interactive game on Google where you can search for the crescent to know if Ramadan has started or not. You may find a few other surprises along the way, too! (Can you spot the astronaut?)

Picture of a phone displaying helpful Ramadan information in search

2. Find the Qibla & Iftar timings wherever you are

A big part of Ramadan is managing your time, and that means checking prayer times and finding the Qibla (direction of prayer). You can easily find prayer times[183ed9]directly on Google, and you can use Qibla Finder to quickly locate the direction of prayer. It’s a web app that uses Augmented Reality (AR) to guide you right from your phone and it has helped millions of people around the world find the Qibla within seconds.

Image of the Qibla Finder

3. Browse through the Ramadan Shopping Guide for inspiration

We’ve found that shoppers start planning up to 8 weeks ahead of Ramadan, with a 50% increase in interest around cooking fryers and 160% increase in Ramadan decorations. Whatever you’re looking for, the Ramadan Shopping Guide will help you explore the top trending Ramadan products and browse product options.

Image of shopping page on a phone

4. Embrace your inner artist with Ramadan-related artworks

We’re also bringing our interactive digital Ramadan Coloring Book from Google Arts & Culture to more countries, including Indonesia, Turkey and India. It showcases a range of beautiful Islamic art, enabling anyone to add a personal touch to popular artwork or simply practice mindfulness through coloring. Select your favorite art from the platform and create your own interpretation of a masterpiece that you can easily share with friends and family.

Phone showing interactive digital Ramadan coloring book

We hope this Ramadan brings you and your loved ones joy — and that this year’s features from Google help you find the information you need to make the most of this special time of the year.

News Brief: August updates from the Google News Initiative

Last month, we focused on a number of strategies to empower journalists. Our projects included increasing access to technology, enabling press freedom, supporting prospective and emerging digital journalism founders and sustaining learning opportunities. Read on for August updates.

Supporting journalists in Afghanistan

Google and Googlers are providing more than $4 million in support to front line organizations aiding those who are particularly impacted by the crisis in Afghanistan. As part of these efforts, the Google News Initiative has donated $250,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists to aid Afghan journalists.

Training aspiring journalists through the GNI Fellowship in Europe


The Google News Initiative Fellowship logo, along with the Google News Initiative and European Journalism Centre logos, on an abstract colored background.

Illustration by Roselyne Min

In partnership with the European Journalism Centre, we announced the 2021 class of the Google News Initiative Fellowship in Europe. Through the fellowship, 30 aspiring journalists from diverse backgrounds will be placed at participating newsrooms across 14 countries. During a period of eight weeks, these young professionals will develop skills in areas ranging from technology, multimedia and design to data, audience development and fact-checking.

Teaching small news organizations about artificial intelligence

Twenty journalists and media professionals from Africa, Europe and the Middle East have been selected for JournalismAI’s first-everAI academy for small newsrooms. Selected participants come from 16 different countries, including Nigeria, Lebanon, Denmark, Kenya, Turkey and Spain. They work for investigative journalism organizations, newspapers, news podcasts, financial news outlets and more. The academy was developed in partnership with POLIS, the journalism think tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Celebrating innovation in journalism around the world

Building on the Digital News Innovation Fund in Europe, Google News Initiative Innovation Challenges have supported more than 180 projects that bring new ideas to the news industry. Around the world, we’re learning from former Innovation Challenge recipients who are using their funding to drive innovation in news.


A screenshot of Tiempo Argentino's open-source membership platform, which gives readers the option to become members through different contributions amounts.

Innovation Challenge recipient Tiempo Argentino, the biggest cooperative media outlet in Argentina, has launched an open-source membership platform. It is also sharing instructions so that any nonprofit news organization can take the tools and do the same. Each component of their GitHub repository includes a tutorial with screenshots, pictures and FAQ guide for developers on how to use the tools. 


Lighthouse Journalism: Shine a light on stories that matter! www.lighthousejournalism.com

TheIndian Express has launched Lighthouse Journalism, a crowdfunding platform to showcase and bring to light stories that are otherwise ignored or under-reported in mainstream media. Users can suggest topics for a journalist to cover and can raise money and support by campaigning through social media. The launch was coordinated to mark India’s 75th Independence Day.

Breaking down the basics for news entrepreneurs


We launched a live and on-demand video workshop series in North America to support prospective and emerging digital journalism founders. The Startups Workshop series demystifies the process of launching a startup, breaks down the business basics of running an organization and showcases available resources from the GNI, like the Startups Playbook, GNI Startups Boot Camp and News Entrepreneur Slack Community. More than 500 publishers have tuned in so far for presentations led by founders like Candice Fortman ofOutlier Media, Kara Meyburg Guzman ofSanta Cruz Local and Megan Raposa ofSioux Falls Simplified.

Enabling the development of news products

We launched a series of product development through the Google News Initiative Digital Growth Program. More than 500 news organizations joined the first week of workshops across North America and Latin America. The workshops will expand to other regions and continue through October, covering topics such as “Executing your Product Vision” and “Best Practices in Product Thinking.” News organizations can also apply to participate in our Product Labs, which provide hands-on guidance over several months on developing new products, with support from the Google News Initiative and industry experts.

Backing the next generation of journalists on YouTube

In April, we opened applications for two new YouTube programs focused on supporting the next generation of reporters and newsrooms: a creator program for independent journalists, which aims to help independent reporters succeed on YouTube, and the Sustainability Lab for digital-first newsrooms, which provides support for digital native news organizations to start and expand their video operations. Last month, we announced the selection of nearly 50 independent journalists and 40 digital-first newsrooms across both programs.

That’s a wrap for August. For more updates, stay in touch on social and through our newsletter.


Discover Dubai’s Culture & Heritage with Google Arts & Culture

In Dubai, we believe our future is derived from our past.  While my hometown has become renowned for its fast-paced development and soaring skyscrapers, many people still don’t know about the rich culture and heritage this city holds. 


Today, I’m proud to unveil ‘Dubai’s Culture and Heritage’, launched in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, which will help you discover my hometown's story and its vibrant art scene through more than 80 expertly curated stories, 5 audio stories, 25 videos, and over 800 high-resolution images of arts, crafts, heritage sites and much more. 

Did you know Dubai was a trading port?

Some people wonder what it was like to live in Dubai before the city became a bustling metropolis. What better way to learn than to hear firsthand from some of Dubai’s residents, from pearl merchants, boat builders and craftspersons to hearing about childhood memories of swimming in the Dubai Creek.

For many of us, the traditional Emirati Majlis, a cultural and social space where members of the community come together for discussions, was and remains a staple feature of our social lives. 

To get a sense of traditional life in Dubai, take a virtual walk through alleyways and witness traditional architecture such as buildings with high air towers called Barajeel, in the Al-Fahidi district. You can also learn more about traditional embroidery, palm weaving and, for the coffee lovers, the history and culture of coffee in the UAE.

Modern Dubai, Zaha Hadid and the art scene

Fast-forward with the click of a button to see some of modern-day Dubai’s iconic architecturallandmarks, from towers with 90 degree rotation from top to bottom to torus-shaped structures with Arabic calligraphy and the first hotel to have its interiors and exteriors designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid. 


Dubai’s art scene has also evolved over the years, reflecting the diversity of its social fabric. Learn about one of the city’s first cinemas, learn more about the Sikka Arts Festivaland Art Dubai — two important artistic events held in the heart of the city —  and hear from emerging artists from around the world who are using Dubai as a hub to share their work with the world. 

Ready to take the tour?

We’re excited to be able to help people, wherever they may be, discover our culture and heritage through our work with Google Arts & Culture. To learn more, visit g.co/dubaiculture or download the Google Arts & Culture app for Android or iOS.


Growing Cloud in the Middle East with Dina Amin

Welcome to the latest installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Dina Amin, the Head Of Cloud Marketing for the Middle East,Turkey and Africa. Dina is based out of our Dubai office, and has spent the past 15 years in the city after falling in love with it during a three-month stay. The Middle East is not only deeply rooted in her present but also in Dina’s past, growing up between the U.K., Jordan and Iraq. 

How would you describe your role at Google?

From a day-to-day perspective, my team and I are responsible for generating awareness of Google Cloud and Google Workspace products among existing and new customers. Our products help companies with their digital transformation ambitions so this is a particularly interesting challenge during a time when many companies are transitioning online! 

As part of my role, I have also been fortunate to be on the team responsible for some of the largest and most exciting geographic expansion projects that we are working on in Google Cloud.

What else are you involved with at Google outside of your core role?

I’m very involved with (and previously led) the [email protected] Chapter in the Middle East and North Africa. This role is one that I was very proud to hold because of the opportunity to help drive positive change in the company and our communities.

Outside of work, one of my favorite interests is being out at sea. My most recent adventure was getting my skipper license last year. Another way I make sure to get out to sea regularly is through wakesurfing, which Dubai’s weather makes possible all year round.

Dina on a Google bike outdoors.

What inspires you to log in every day?

I’m inspired by the  feeling of delivering moments for our sales team to connect with their customers. These moments truly bring the whole team together in a bonding experience.

One of my favorite and most powerful examples of this is Cloud Day, which is a one-day immersive event where Google Cloud executives, partners and customers share how the cloud is transforming business and improving the lives of people around the world. My team was able to deliver this format in two main hubs — Dubai and Istanbul, where more than 2,000 people joined us both in-person and digitally. Given we are a small team, it was a huge mission for us to achieve, and we are so proud to have done it!

What made you decide to apply to Google?

At the time, I was completing my masters in business and had heard that a guest speaker from Google was coming for a talk on campus. I was interested in learning more about the company and different opportunities, so I decided to attend. I showed up early to the talk, and saw that the speaker, who turned out to be the Managing Director of Google in the Middle East and North Africa, needed some help setting up. We  started talking, and I quickly realized how exciting this line of work sounded. The guest speaker encouraged me to apply, and I really got inspired after the talk so I decided Google could be a good fit for me.  

Almost six years later and two different job paths at Google, I definitely feel I made the right choice joining that talk and applying to Google. It truly shows you that you never know where any opportunity may lie.

Dina in a Noogler hat indoors.

What resources did you use to prepare for your interview?

I used a lot of different resources when preparing for my interview, but I think there are three that were the most useful. The first was reaching out to Googlers and meeting them to learn more about their experiences. This helped me understand more about the company and the Googlers, in their usual fashion, were very open to help! 

The second was utilizing my business school’s career counseling services. It’s a service that may be undervalued, but it makes all the difference to get guidance from counselors who have witnessed a variety of different career paths. 

The final resource was prepping with common interview questions to get more comfortable with these types of questions. Here’s a list of best practices, advice, and tips for interviewing at Google.

Any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Always keep in mind that a career path does not have to be linear. Each person has their own path to take that may have twists and turns. The key is to stick with it and keep searching for the path that sparks passion within you.

I was a computer science major, but I’ve experienced sales, marketing, operations, technology and strategy jobs while traveling or living in at least 15 countries. I loved these experiences as they helped me become a lot more comfortable and confident in knowing myself as a professional and knowing what I bring to the table.

22 news innovators from the Middle East, Turkey and Africa

During a 14-year career as a journalist, Dina Aboughazala reported on issues impacting people's lives across the Middle East. But she found that many existing news services concentrated on what was happening in big cities, while lesser-known areas were often ignored. To highlight undiscovered voices with interesting stories to tell, last year Aboughazala started the journalism platform Egab.

Egab, which connects journalists from the Middle East and Africa to international media outlets, is one of 22 successful recipients for the Google News Initiative’s second Middle East, Turkey and Africa Innovation Challenge.

It will use the funding to build a platform for contributions. “This means we can empower more local journalists across the Middle East and Africa to tell diverse stories about their communities to global audiences: stories that defy stereotypes, represent our part of the world more fairly and engage more audiences,” Aboughazala says. “We will now be able to do that at a larger scale through the online platform we will be building.”

We launched an open call for applications in February and received 329 applications from 35 countries. A rigorous review, a round of interviews and a final jury selection process followed.

Today, we’re announcing $2.1 million in funding to projects and initiatives in 14 different countries. Recipients include startups and online-only media platforms alongside some of the bigger names in news across the region, and cover topics ranging from audience development to virtual reality storytelling. We placed an emphasis on projects that reflect and demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the news industry.

Here are just a few of the recipients (you can find the full list on our website):

  • Messenger Reader Revenue: The Standard Group in Kenya is going to integrate bots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) onto a WhatsApp number so that its audience can prompt and interact with it to access news. Via a subscription, the uniquely curated content will feature categories such as farming and investigations.

  • Dreamcatcher: A blockchain-based micro-licensing platform for news articles comes from Aposto, a technology and new media startup in Turkey. This will mean news outlets can tap into a new market of unsubscribed users. For users, this allows them to access premium content without having to buy multiple subscriptions. 

  • Virtual Reality (VR) tours: Frontline in Focus in Syria will bring VR Tours by local journalists for international media and NGOs to help international reporters tell stories from the conflict zone with the help of more seasoned local reporters.

  • Growing through innovation: An audience engagement and membership project from Raseef22 in Lebanon targets Arab youth. The team plans to enhance audience engagement with dynamic story formats, podcasts and a membership program to explore new reader revenue.

  • Data for Morocco: A public platform to collect economic and financial data comes from online-only publisher Société des Nouveaux Médias. This will make basic datasets accessible to all readers as well as create specific offers to subscribers and clients through personalized dashboards, real time updates and market analysis.

We’ll be following their progress alongside the previous recipients who are already impacting the news ecosystem with initiatives that increase reader engagement and make for a more sustainable future of news.


22 news innovators from the Middle East, Turkey and Africa

During a 14-year career as a journalist, Dina Aboughazala reported on issues impacting people's lives across the Middle East. But she found that many existing news services concentrated on what was happening in big cities, while lesser-known areas were often ignored. To highlight undiscovered voices with interesting stories to tell, last year Aboughazala started the journalism platform Egab.

Egab, which connects journalists from the Middle East and Africa to international media outlets, is one of 22 successful recipients for the Google News Initiative’s second Middle East, Turkey and Africa Innovation Challenge.

It will use the funding to build a platform for contributions. “This means we can empower more local journalists across the Middle East and Africa to tell diverse stories about their communities to global audiences: stories that defy stereotypes, represent our part of the world more fairly and engage more audiences,” Aboughazala says. “We will now be able to do that at a larger scale through the online platform we will be building.”

We launched an open call for applications in February and received 329 applications from 35 countries. A rigorous review, a round of interviews and a final jury selection process followed.

Today, we’re announcing $2.1 million in funding to projects and initiatives in 14 different countries. Recipients include startups and online-only media platforms alongside some of the bigger names in news across the region, and cover topics ranging from audience development to virtual reality storytelling. We placed an emphasis on projects that reflect and demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the news industry.

Here are just a few of the recipients (you can find the full list on our website):

  • Messenger Reader Revenue: The Standard Group in Kenya is going to integrate bots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) onto a WhatsApp number so that its audience can prompt and interact with it to access news. Via a subscription, the uniquely curated content will feature categories such as farming and investigations.

  • Dreamcatcher: A blockchain-based micro-licensing platform for news articles comes from Aposto, a technology and new media startup in Turkey. This will mean news outlets can tap into a new market of unsubscribed users. For users, this allows them to access premium content without having to buy multiple subscriptions. 

  • Virtual Reality (VR) tours: Frontline in Focus in Syria will bring VR Tours by local journalists for international media and NGOs to help international reporters tell stories from the conflict zone with the help of more seasoned local reporters.

  • Growing through innovation: An audience engagement and membership project from Raseef22 in Lebanon targets Arab youth. The team plans to enhance audience engagement with dynamic story formats, podcasts and a membership program to explore new reader revenue.

  • Data for Morocco: A public platform to collect economic and financial data comes from online-only publisher Société des Nouveaux Médias. This will make basic datasets accessible to all readers as well as create specific offers to subscribers and clients through personalized dashboards, real time updates and market analysis.

We’ll be following their progress alongside the previous recipients who are already impacting the news ecosystem with initiatives that increase reader engagement and make for a more sustainable future of news.


Join the Women of AdSense summit

Google AdSense is proud to partner with so many inspiring and successful businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We believe that the uniqueness of the people running these businesses is integral to what we do, and we love to see this diversity shining through the content you produce. 

We’d like to show our support by inviting you to the Women of AdSense summit, which fosters leadership, inclusion and connection in the AdSense community. March is Women's History Month, a time to highlight the contributions of women throughout history and in contemporary society. We’d love to celebrate with you at the summit, which will take place on Wednesday, March 31 and is free to registered participants.

During the event you will: 

  • Discover opportunities to grow your publishing business through monetization and content development.

  • Hear stories from your fellow women publishers.

  • Learn more about balance and resilience from our guest keynote speaker.

This virtual event is aimed at empowering Women of AdSense across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. However, we welcome anyone who's interested in attending as an ally and supporting women in the workplace and beyond.

Applications will be accepted until Sunday, March 21. Apply to participate in the event and get ready to be inspired!


Source: Inside AdSense