Friday, December 24, 2010

A late brief review of #GEgypt

G-Egypt was a 3 day event held by Google on Dec 8th-10th at Dusit Thani (New Cairo). I've attended Day 2, and 3 (Day 2: targeting Software Developers, Day 3: targeting Entrepreneurs and Software Developers), & knew about what happened on Day 1 (targeting Academia) from my brother and a couple of my younger friends from the community/FCIH.

Most of the sessions was too simple (may be except for Day 1, as mostly the attendees were younger/students) and sometimes they seemed even dull too, as most of the speakers seem to be software developers who aren't much exposed to speak on similar events before.

Yet, the same speakers were much more interactive, answering questions at the pods. There were 5 pods on the open area for most of the speakers of each day + one for Cairo-GTUG (Google Technology User group).

The Keynotes was mainly talking about Google's plan on targeting MENA , and what they're offering (especially in Arabic) lately, with some demos (stuff like search, translate, Ejabat, Maps, AppEngine, with a note that Android Arabization is in there plan, but no dates announced). Stressing on that one of their main issues is the lack of "well-formatted" Arabic content, that's mostly buried in forums (which is not the best place to put your content SEO-wise), asking for developers of the region to help them with that.

The sessions about AppEngine (Google's cloud computing offering, and the main reason I attended the event) was one of the most attended sessions, yet the session presenters were pretty boring and later on, many of the attendees either left for the other parallel session or stayed not paying much attention.

Yet, Again, to get the audience attention, the AppEngine speakers (there were 2 of them) announced a technical contest (only on day 1, 2) for creating apps using AppEngine (+ using other Google Technologies) which was judged by the end of each day with the best app awarded a Google Nexus!

On Day 2, the most attended and most lively session, by far, was the mobile (Android) development session. There was another couple of sessions by Site Clinic team, analyzing real sites of some of the audience from an SEO (and sometimes a little security) point of view. There was a rather dull session about Chrome extensions too.

There was a couple of session about the benefits of working with open source and using open standards on Day 2, 3 (which were generally favored by most of the people I talked to about). Also, on Day 2, there was a session by adopters of Google development technologies (Android, Maps), talking about their experience using it, and starting their new businesses on top of it.

There was a multitude of sessions about maps and their applications on Day 2, 3 with a business (possible uses of maps, no code) sessions about the topic on Day 3.

On Day 3, the most attended and tweeted about sessions (actually throughout the whole 3-day-event) was the session and panel discussion about Entrepreneurship,. There was another Entrepreneurship panel discussion on day 2, but that too dull compared to Day 3.

Concerning logistics, the event was held on four areas: Main Auditorium, Breakout sessions room, an open area, and the dining area. The open area has many entertaining stuff like the ones you'd see on a typical "Life at Google" video; stuff like Wii, Beanbags, seats, Sofas. Also, the speakers’ pods were at this area. Also, there weren’t many giveaways, only t-shirts at the end of every day, and a couple of Google-branded mugs during the sessions. No attendee-kit, only a notebook and a pen on the seats during sessions.

The main organizer/host of the whole event is a French guy called Sebastian. He is a very lively person; probably most of the attendees will remember him and G-Egypt as synonyms (especially the ones not familiar with Google, before the event).

The event has a major drawback is that on every single day of the three day, the schedule wasn't progressing as planned. Also, the sessions were too short. Probably those were a couple of the main reasons why most of the sessions were too simple as most of them had to wrap up too soon.


Let me know how did G-Egypt went with you?

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