On 24th of March, Google conducted its 2nd event for the Saudi Arabia market under the brand name Google Saudi Arabia 2.0. Last year, the first event of its kind, was conducted by the search giant in Four Season Hotel, Riyadh. This year, it has been conducted in Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry. It’s a two days event. Day 1 is technology oriented while the Day 2 focus mainly on business related products & tools. A point to remember is that the very first step of its kind was taken by Microsoft in fall 2010 when they conducted Microsoft Open Door 2010 in Riyadh as well as Jeddah. Microsoft CEO, Steve Balmer made the key note speech in Riyadh. Although Microsoft was the trend starter, they skipped the Saudi Arabia from their books for the next Open Door event that has been held in other states of Middle East in Q1 o f2012.
The agenda of the day 1 is as under:
Track 1 Topic
Track 2 Topic
Track 3 Topic
|9:30:00||Opening & Keynote|
|11:00:00||Mobile Development/SDKs||Chrome Extensions||Google APIs||GWT Workshop|
|12:00:00||Google+||Chrome Extensions (continued)||Google APIs (continued)||GWT Workshop (continued)|
|14:00:00||Google+ API 101||Mobile Development Workshop: Augmented Reality||Google APIs (continued)||Website Optimizer 101|
|15:00:00||Maps API 101||Mobile Development Workshop: Augmented Reality||YouTube API||Search Quality, Webspam and Communication|
|16:30:00||Google Your Career: Engineering Opportunities||Creating Killer Webcontent||YouTube API||Webmaster Workshop (continued)|
|17:30:00||Getting ready for the Job: CV & Interviews tips||Creating Killer Webcontent (continued)||Localization: Google Translate & Translator Toolkit||Webmaster Workshop (continued)|
The main organizers for this event (and such other events in the region) were +Patricia Estridge and +Rania Hadi. The key note was delivered by Nelson Mattos, the Vice President of Engineering, EMEA Region. There were 50 Googlers from all over the world (last year, the count was 30). He discussed about the concepts and ideas that drive the Google & its products. He advised to think big, start small. He said that Google follow this approach users first, money second.
He was followed by Hmad Hamzawi, Head of New Business Development, MENA & CA region. He talked about the recent Google Innovations & Demos specially the new Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). One of the main part of his presentation was Mobile Predictions for 2012.
After the keynote, the participants were provided with four tracks to select as per their interests and expertise. I opted for the Chrome Extension sessions which were delivered by Ahmed Hassan. It was a split in two sessions. In the first session, he explained what exactly the extensions are, what their internal components are, what are compulsory and what are optional. In the second session that was after a 5-10 min break he started with building the chrome extensions. Gradually, the complexity of the examples increased. All of the sample code is available in Google Chrome Extension developer help section.
It was followed by the lunch. It was a lunch box having mainly a sandwich and salad box. It seems that the lunch was decided by a diet conscious person who focused highly on organic foods.
For the next session I tried to go for Mobile Development Workshop but it was fully occupied. We tried with other sessions but they were also not available. We were left with only option for the Google+ API. Google+ is the new social product by Google. They say that Google + You = Google+. In this session different features of Google+ API was described, what they are, how we can use them in our applications, etc…
After this I went for Search Quality, Webspam and Communication session. It was a quite a new name. It was presented by Tony Fadel, in a very friendly atmosphere. He mentioned that their team was even unknown to many other Google teams, although it exists since 2008. The task of their team is to improve the quality of the search results by applying new algorithms, conducting different analysis and experiments and even manual modifications. Surprisingly, he mentioned that 500 changes are made in the Google search page every year. Then he mentioned that how the spam is controlled, automatically and manually. The goal of their team (or Google) is to not to provide just simple results but quality results. You can check the full details in the slides.
After this session, I noticed that the remaining sessions are not much related to my scope. I checked some other booths for the time being. It was really nice to know that Google map maker is available for KSA now. So, we can expect improvements in the maps in the coming months.
The logistic support for this event was provided by Badir. The internet support was provided by Mobily. Free WiFi was available in the beginning until the start of the first session. After that it stopped responding and after some time, it was no more available as an open connection.
The official page for this event is: http://goo.gl/lF368