BEIRUT: Ten years after Google Inc first rolled out its internet search engine, Palestine finally has its own Google domain, enabling the territories to access localized search results. Since Google launched its iconic website in 1998 it has been slowly adding many of the world’s local domains like google.co.uk (Google UK) and google.jo (Google Jordan), but it was not until Thursday that Google launched google.ps, enabling the Palestinian Territories’ estimated 2.4 million residents to redefine searches.
The new Google domain page appeared on Thursday with its trademark logo and Arabic option tabs.
According to Google Arabia “the new domain will give Arabic-speaking users in the Palestinian Territories, who use Palestinian ISPs, access to Google in Arabic – and eventually, access to more locally relevant content. With the launch of google.ps, we bring the total number of Google domains worldwide to more than 160.”
Google confirmed on their Google Arabia blog this week that they will be “directing users based on their ISPs, so users of Palestinian ISPs will automatically be redirected to google.ps. However, any user can type in any Google domain they prefer to go.”
Google explained to ArabCrunch website how things will be different for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza: “Up until today, Arabic-speaking users in the Palestinian Territories have had to visit foreign domains in order to search in Arabic.” However, Google says that starting today, Arabic-speaking users in the Palestinian Territories who use Palestinian ISPs will be given direct access to Google in Arabic via the google.ps address.
The company has also added software AdWords, which targets advertisements to specific countries or territories, or to specific regions and cities. “The AdWords system uses several factors to determine whether to show your ad including the Google domain being used [fr, .de, .kr, etc.],” Google says on its site. “The actual search term the user submits and when possible, we determine the user’s general physical location based upon their computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address.”
ArabCrunch reported Thursday that users in Gaza have confirmed the new domain is working in the area.
A Palestinian resident speaking to The Daily Star Thursday said that the new domain is a welcome addition for the many who rely on the popular search engine. “I have an online business and it will only boom with this new domain,” says Nassir M. “We have waited a while but it is going to revolutionize the way we work here.
“It will take time to build up the site, but soon Palestinians will begin to use more local services and rely more on local business, especially with the region-specific ads.”
This year Google has launched six new domains in the Middle East and Africa, bringing their total number of domains to 30 in Africa and 12 across the Arabic speaking world, among them Benin, Lebanon, and Madagascar.
Google also mentioned this week that it has plans to continue rolling out more domains in the coming months, concentrating on spreading the brand through Africa.