9 Platforms that Enable Your Search in the Arab Region

by Maya Rahal, March 5, 2013

Arabic content is often not well indexed on the web, and suffers from poor rankings on Google and other standard search engines orginally developed in the U.S. But entrepreneurs in the Arab world have been addressing the problem for several years now, creating specialized search engines to better serve the Arabic web user. 

On another hand, there are also directories focusing on Arabic quotes like Yorwa.com, others focusing on searching the Quran like Alwafa.com, or searching bank services like Bnooki.com.

The full list below shows 9 platforms launched from and for the Arab world to enable users to quickly find specific online content they are looking for.

Kngine, pronounced "kin-gin", was launched in 2012 as a mobile application that returns answers to both written and spoken questions with text, pictures, graphs, and images, as opposed to links alone. 

CTRL, pronounced "control", was launched in 2012, and is a semantic search engine able to discern what a document is about, provide a summary, and subsequently link to related content and video.


Below are three transliteration platforms allowing users to type Arabic without an Arabic keyboard converting words typed with Latin characters to their closest Arabic equivalent, in addition to a search enabler powered by Google.

Yamli, which means "he dictates",  was launched in 2007, and offers two services. The first one is Arabic transliteration, and an Arabic search engine focused on providing more relevant search results for an Arabic query by expanding it to its most frequently used Latin equivalent.

Eiktub, which means "write", was launched in 2008, and also offers a transliteration service to type Arabic, and search in Arabic, through a Latin keyboard. It may not be in wide use anymore, but it also offers a pad that can be downloaded and used offline.

Yoolki, which means "to give or write a speech", was launched in 2007, and offers a transliteration and arabic search service using a Latin keyboard.


Yorwa, Bnooki, Arabo and Alawfa below are three directories enabling Arabic users to search within their listing of websites.

Yorwa, which means "it is said that...", was launched in November 2012, and is a directory specializing in Arabic quotes and proverbs, presenting more than 6 million Arabic quotes today.

Bnooki, launched in January 2013, is a banking directory that allows you to find anything you want from any bank in Lebanon, whether a loan, a credit card, a savings plan, or an account. They plan to spread to other ocuntries soon.

Arabo, is a directory dedicated to Arabic websites only, it archives and categorizes websites according to their specialization and fields. Arabo also has a category listing international websites who offer potential services for Arab users. 

Alawfa, is a directory that only searches verses from the Quran.

 

Some other search engines launched from the Arabic region in the past 10 years but failed and quickly closed down, including Araby.com launched by Maktoob, eb7ath and Marweb. Don't hesitate to add more search enablers from the Arab world that you are familiar with in the comments section below, and we'll be happy to add them to our list.

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Maya works as the managing editor at Wamda. You can reach her at maya[AT]wamda.com, find her on Twitter @RahalMaya or connect with her on LinkedIn or Google+.

 
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