Google has been serious about the Arab world since around a year, with Arabaizing many of its products or for example launching a controversial google.ps domain for Palestine. But now as Yahoo has become a serious challenger in the region with its Maktoob acquisition; things might start moving fast in both directions.
Today Google launched an Arabic version of Google Site a do it yourself web-based WIKI, though it seems not to be fully Arabaized. Google also launched today four new Arabic editions of Google News, for Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Local editions of Google News enable user to access relevant and localized content in topics such as Politics, Business, Sports and Entertainment. Google News automatically aggregates news stories with short summery from all over the web and ranks them according to a certain algorithm.
Google’s new news editions is interesting move since Yahoo’s Vice President Keith Nilsson told ArabCrunch that Yahoo will be forging deals with media companies around the region, similar to what it already has in Yahoo News. Maktoob already has such deals with a number of regional websites in its news section.
Yahoo seems focused into content for the consumer market (wrongly abandoned its search to Microsoft’s Bing) it has not launched anything interesting recently to the enterprise and business markets.
Google Sites is based on Google’s acquisition of JotSpot. Given that Google Sites is a Wiki, it can be used for internal company wide collaboration and knowledge management or externally for collaborative publishing to the outside world, or for personal publishing.