Egypt Yellow Pages Partners Day

I’m a little late to talk about this one, but last Sunday, January 16th 2011, was Egypt Yellow Pages first event for 2011, the best thing we thought we would do this year with, is to honor our partners and give them a big thank you for being so awesome through 2010… Our event title is Enhancing Local Search And Location-Based Services With Key Strategic Partnerships

Hosted in the Four Seasons Nile Plaza in garden city, more than 40 communications media specialists, editors and journalists covered the event that was attended by Egypt Yellow Pages strategic partners: Ministry of state of administrative development – e-Government, Nokia/Navteq, Al Masry Al Youm and Akhbarak.net

The event started with the keynote from Marc Lambert, managing director of Egypt Yellow Pages. The speech was so insightful, Marc explained how our strategic partners will help us enhance the local search services on more platforms by making it available through our partners sites and in the same time focusing on offering location based services which is the future of the local search…

 

Marc Lambert giving his keynote in the event

Marc Lambert giving his keynote in the event

I had the opportunity then to present some figures and insights about our achievements in 2010, which ended up with us having more than 175,000 business listing in our database out of which 115,000 are geocoded. At the time i am writing this blog post, we have about 180,000 listings and approaching 120,000 geocoded listings… 2010 was also a year that witnesses tripling our website traffic from 400,000 visits per month to over 1.2 million visits, a truly new milestone for local search in Egypt.

 

 

Mohamed Salah, Director Digital Media, Egypt Yellow Pages presentation about insights and search trends in Egypt for 2010

Mohamed Salah, Director Digital Media, Egypt Yellow Pages presentation about insights and search trends in Egypt for 2010

Our partners were the ones who presented our strategic partnership details to the media, the following were representatives of  our partners:

Mathia Nalappan, General Manager – North Africa, Nokia
Phil McKinnon, Head Of Marketing – North Africa, Nokia
Mohamed Abd El-Jalil, Head Of Solutions Sales – North Africa, Nokia
Sahar Afia, Project Manager – Government Services Development Program, Ministry Of State For Administrative Development
Kismet EL-Sayed, Shareholder / Business Development Director, Al-Masry Al-Youm
Osman Ahmed Osman, Founder, Akhbarak.Net

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The Best Optimizer Is Between Your Ears

I still remember The Art of Assembly book by Randall Hyde that I read during college and his qoute

The Best Optimizer is Between Your Ears

The idea simply was revolving about the fact that if you focus too much on details and try to keep optimizing something that works really slow by just trying to get the assembly code more efficient or by using higher processing power, then you are just wasting your time… 20% or 30% performance improvement in an application that runs in 40 or 50 seconds isn’t really that much… What you should be looking at is a totally novel solution.

Well he was right, but this time the optimizer was not between my ears, it was between the ears of the people who developed the Sphinx Full Text Search Engine… Using Sphinx our team was able to make our ypanalytics tool much faster, we use this tool to analyse the user search trends and usage of Yellow Pages sites…

The tool now became 60 times faster! a mysql query that took 2 minutes to execute using an optimized mysql query now takes 2 seconds to execute using sphinx! Perhaps it is worth mentioning that the query originally took perhaps 4 or 5 minutes to execute before query optimization but still normal optimization is not enough by any means.. you just need a new solution to solve a new problem, solutions which you already know and have dealt with might not be sufficient any more…

Egypt Yellow Pages becomes the official data provider for e-government


In a huge step that will shape the Egyptian information community, the e-Government has chosen Egypt Yellow Pages to be the official partner who will provide many service to the government portal including providing information of different government  entities contact information and map locations.This is a result of the  cooperation agreement Yellow Pages signed with the Ministry of State for Administrative Development under the patronage of Prof. Dr. Ahmed Darwish, Minister of Administrative Development.

With more than 33 ministries in Egypt, it was almost impossible to get a phone number of a governmental office or organization, even if you go to the website of that ministries most probably you would find the information you are looking for and if you did it will be likely outdated. Now, not only this contact information will be available and up to date, but also maps will be displayed showing their locations and you can filter by city and area to select the one that is nearest to you.

e-government new maps serivice
e-government new maps

service

Egypt Yellow Pages have been known very well from both consumers and businesses in Egypt as the local search provider that provides the information about any business in Egypt with a database that is growing each day to reach now more than 140,000 listings and increasing. Now having Yellow Pages create and update the full  content for the Egyptian government  is an important milestone in the history of the company, and from my opinion and without exaggeration it is an important milestone in the history of Egypt as it strengthen the link between the citizens and the government, something the government is trying to achieve but with little success so far.

The cooperation agreement also involved linking the new mapping service to applications and forms currently available in the portal. The service is currently available for over 72 services provided by the following authorities: Real Estate and Documentation Authority, the Egyptian Electricity Authority, Directorates of Education and Directorates of Health Affairs, with more government authorities to be added. You can access the government maps section by clicking here.


Egypt Yellow Pages Partnership with Otlob.com

Last week we hosted a press conference at our premises in Maadi to announce to the media the launch of the strategic partnership between Egypt Yellow Pages and Otlob.com the online food delivery website in Egypt owned by LINKdotNET. More than 40 reporters, journalists, PR,  IT Specialists attended the conference that introduced the new food delivery service on Yellow.com.eg

Click here to try out the new food delivery service in more than 380 restaurants

Here is the video report of the event:

Here are some event photos:

Yellow Pages & Otlob.com Partnership

From left to right Mohamed Salah, Marc Lambert, Ahmed Eraqi and Walid El Saadany

Yellow Pages & Otlob.com Press Conference

Yellow Pages & Otlob.com Press Conference

Reporters at the event

Reporters at the event

Many reporters, journalists and IT Specialists attended the press conference

Many reporters, journalists and IT Specialists attended the press conference

Navteq & Turkey Yellow Pages Event Photos

Some photos for the joint press conference between Navteq, Nokia and Turkey Yellow Pages to announce signing the strategic partnership deal through which Turkey Yellow Pages will provide business listings information of more than 500,000 listings to Navteq.

Navteq and Turkey Yellow Pages Teams

Navteq and Turkey Yellow Pages Partnership

Presentation by Göktuğ Okan Oğuz - General Manager of eBusiness - Turkey Yellow Pages

Presentation by Göktuğ Okan Oğuz - General Manager of eBusiness - Turkey Yellow Pages

Press Conference of Navteq and Yellow Pages

Press Conference of Navteq and Yellow Pages

After all,  I want to say that the big winner from this partnership is the large user base in Turkey who will benefit from combining the maps of Navteq and the data of Yellow Pages

Turkey Yellow Pages Partners with Navteq and Nokia

Turkey Yellow Pages Partners with Navteq and Nokia

Turkey Yellow Pages Partners with Navteq and Nokia

Turkey Yellow Pages signed a 5 year strategic deal to supply business listing information to NAVTEQ and Nokia global mapping platforms. This is the kind of partnerships that the giant mapping provider Navteq and Nokia are looking for. In these days, the mapping technologies have reached a new level, GPS became a major component in any mobile phone, not less important than a camera. Most new cars are already equipped with in-car navigation systems. Detailed maps are now available for almost anywhere in the planet. Without a detailed map a GPS would be useless.

So the equation that stood for some time was:

GPS + Detailed Maps = Know your way

Now this equation has totally changed, having access to hundreds of thousands of locations for hotels, restaurants, shops, gas stations, hospitals, …. definitely means much more. It means you do not need to worry any more about finding a place you want to go to.. All what you need is to decide what you want to do, and the where or how is not a problem anymore.

The new equations is

GPS + Detailed Maps + Business Listing Locations = Find your destination

It is so exciting now that Turkey Yellow Pages data will power up Nokia OviMaps which were offered for free a few days ago.  Nokia OviMaps is now one of the most convenient mobile maps that you could use, not only because it is free now, it’s technology has changed from raster images into vector maps so the application can be downloaded locally to your mobile from Ovi App Store, and it’s size is no more than 8 MB. This includes all the maps installed on your local mobile, no need to keep downloading images from the internet.

Nokia Mobile Search

Back in late 2006, when we developed our Nokia Mobile Search plug-in for Egypt, UAE and KSA Yellow Pages we were so delighted about it, it was a breakthrough for the use of the mobiles in our daily life to find a restaurant or a hotel on the move. One and half years later Nokia decided to drop support for their Mobile Search applications. Their insights were toward mobile maps. Now here comes OviMaps, the new amazing free Nokia mobile mapping platform and again powered by Yellow Pages, the most trusted local search provider as always.

So stay tuned for the upcoming updates from OviMaps which Turkey Yellow Pages will power up its data soon…

4G is finally here, but for laptops not mobiles!

The first 4G network will be launched in Sweden and Norway early 2010. It’s speed is gonna be approaching 100 mbits/sec, the interesting news is that they haven’t invented a handset yet that works on 4G, so users will only be able to access the network using a USB modem and a laptop!

Eventually, they will make a handset but what does this tell us, broadband internet access from a cellular network being available for computers before mobiles? it tells us what it is really gonna be used for, i mean what’s the importance of this high speed on a mobile device? are you going to install torrents or emule on your mobile and start downloading movies? of course not… but imagine what would this speed mean to an internet user from his computer.

In my opinion the main source that is gonna drive revenues for mobile networks is the data service. It’s not the voice or SMS services any more. Today i can talk and send free SMS’s to my 400 colleagues at EYP for free as a part of our enterprise lines. The time is now over for anyone who pays 1000+ LE for their mobile bill, as you can now pay 300 LE and talk almost unlimited (2700 minutes per month).

Welcome to the new era of mobile broadband service!

Google Wave: It’s all about user education

Today i received my Google Wave invitation which i applied for about 2 weeks ago. You can request your invitation from here.

The idea behind Google wave is to replace the email system which was invented 40 years ago with a more modern and advanced communication media. The wave or a communication stream is a single entity that is stored at Google server and allows people to communicate, cooperate and collaborate. Share their media, photos, videos, and gadgets and even chat in a real-time manner. You can say it is something trying to put all the social media and web 2.0 buzz that we see these days.

 

 

I think it’s gonna be a big thing if people use it the way it is meant to be… otherwise it will be a mess, a really big mess… idea of a wave is to be one topic under which people put their contributions in one centralized place. Imagine that some recipients will open the same wave and start putting their comments  branching the topics into other topics that were not intended when the wave already started… It will be a complete mess. Imagine also that there will be no webmaster or owner of the wave, anyone can do whatever he/she wants…. No rules…

Imagine when you receive an email and you reply to it. Then after a couple of days the same person wants to send you another email, so he replies to your old email and talks about a new topic… isn’t that a mess an email that has something that is not related to the original email subject… How would this happen in Wave? much worse.

What i want to say is that wave will only work good if people get the right education to use it… and it becomes a culture… otherwise it will be one of those things that looked good at the beginning and then started to make our life more complicated after this like emails and mobile phones!

 

Chrome OS Source Code Released

Google has released a developer version of the Chrome OS that they announced last July. VMWare image can be downloaded here.

I just tried it out, there is nothing but a browser, just Google Chrome browser and nothing else… So far…I wouldn’t recommend downloading and running it unless you are planning on reading the source code or contributing to the project. This is what you get after you login to Chrome OS

Chrome OS

Read more from the Official Google blog or watch their video