Google Launches an Inaccurate Arabic Transliteration (Ta3reeb), Leverage its Monoply with Ads?

25 Oct, 2008

UPDATE: Google removed the ads on .jo .ae

UPDATE 2 and 3: see end of the post.

UPDATE 4: response from Google.

It came to my attention today that when you search for Yamli on .ae or you get ads for google’s own Arabic transliteration editor called Ta3reeb (Arabization) that competes with Yamli.

To my understanding you cannot use keywords that does not match your ad when advertising on Adwords, so here Google is going against its Ad words policy and leveraging its monopoly,  so where is your Don’t Be Evil Google? (UPDATE: Only if you have a registered trademark! see end of the post) (Note I have not used AdWords but people who used it told me that policy). ( An email to  Google Global Communications and Public Affairs Manager Middle East and North Africa will be sent for comments)

Ta3reeb is way behind Yamli in terms of features accuracy and ease of use:

First: It is inaccurate when I type my name Ghaith I getغايته (ghaitoho) which means (his aim),  Ghaith in English means Smooth rain, so from now on my new name is (ghaitoh)! this is inaccuracy seems like a pattern with Ta3reeb for example: typing Amman the capital of Jordan you get أمان (Aman) which means safe, kalb means dog gets you قلب  (heart),  ordon the Arabic word for Jordan you get عرض  which means length or honor. On the other hand Yamli returned accurate results for these words.

Second: Ta3reeb does not show you the little word menu that shows corresponding words in Arabic when you start typing in English that Yamli already has. The existence of this feature at Yamli enables you to see and if want hose which word down the list of the possibilities. With Ta3reeb this is done by right clicking on the word, after you type it and hitting space. (if you noticed any other inaccuracy please comment)

Third: You cannot edit the word and you cannot change a letter in the middle of the word after you type it unless also you hit right click and chose edit, then if you do that, you can only edit using a visual key board, which is against the  purpose of the tool.

On the good side Ta3reeb matched Yamli is memorizing your entered keyword and their matches at the same session only.

Though Ta3reeb is still in Google labs I expect them to fix these features, and I do not know if the system gets smarter by using it, like Yamli does in sense of using the users chosen matching words to show more accurate results. ( I will email  Google’s PR director of Middle East).

I was tipped around 2 weeks ago that Google started using Hindi transliteration in India recently so when you type English in search you get Hindi matches. Google has not been implemented this feature with Arabic search yet but I expect it will.

Google entering the Arabic market is appreciated and I personally use allot of its services, I Love them, but this advertising on Yamli search results is not ethical, it is leveraging monopoly, similar  to Microsoft using its OS monopoly and installing IE to kill Netscape back in the 90s.

With this Ad tactic or without it Google is still the most used search engine in the Arab world, far ahead of Yamli, Habib Haddad cofounder of Yamli comments on this both events by saying:

“In the end what is good is that the Arabic language will be the winner. Our vision as a young Arabic startup is to keep innovating to empower the Arabic language and culture on the web and we believe we will make a difference even in the toughest competitive environments”

Yamli can fight back with its recent API release, and should work harder to partner with all major news websites, blog platforms and portals to use it, and partner with leading forum providers those Arab forums sites use since forums are big time in the Arab world. (many of them already use the API and this week ArabCrunch will start to inshallah)

Yamli has a secret search project that Haddad told me once, It is gona revolutionize Arabic  search, where it is gona be something completely new not yet offered by anyone else,  However he declined to tell me more details, but said it will be launched in around 2 weeks. If this product proved to be much better then Google I am sure media will buzz it and users will use word of mouth to help it grow.


Seems like Google didn’t violate its AdWords policy Startupmeme suggests, as it only bans names trademarked outside of the U.S., U.K., and Canada, from being used as an ad keyword. And since Yamli CEO stated that his trademark is filed in the U.S. there isn’t an issue. This could be a first though as, usually, searches on Google don’t return results for Google products.

UPDATE 3: The comparison to this matter to MS IE and Netscape browser war is not very accurate, since switching cost on the web is one click away, and during MS Netscape war there was no alternative to Windows on IBM based PCs, though Google still maintains a monopoly power in the browser and online Ad market.


Here is the response from a Google spokesperson.”

“Google uses AdWords to market some of its own products. We are proud of AdWords as a means to effectively advertise one’s products or services, so it seems natural to use it ourselves. Such house ads are also standard practice across the advertising industry.
While the Google house ad in question did not violate any of our AdWords trademark or content policies, we have decided to discontinue it.”

Google’s Trademark Policy states “With Google AdWords, advertisers may select trademarked terms as keywords or use them in the content of the ad.” thus google did not violate its Adwords policy, but I suspect they discounted the ad campaign on Yamli keyword because of the wave of objections across the blogosphere.

A clarification for Google AdWords policy regarding trademarked terms, can be found here

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  1. Qwaider قويدر  |  October 25th, 2008 at 2:34 AM #

    It’s good to see that Google have retracted this. It’s an indirect way to say “Oops! we screwed up”.

  2. Is Google being Evil? | Ismail Dhorat  |  October 25th, 2008 at 1:31 PM #

    […] blogs i monitor on a regular basis, writes about Google launching an arabic trasliteration service Ta3eeb that competes with arabic tansliteration and search service […]

  3. w43L  |  October 25th, 2008 at 4:53 PM #

    this raises one question in my mind; what is the benefit you get (as a startup) if some giant is gonna make a similar service like yours?
    i mean this could turn so many startups down

    just a thought wanted to share

  4. Gaith Saqer  |  October 26th, 2008 at 4:39 PM #

    plz all, I appreciate your comments but try to leave polite comments, vulgar comments will not be tolerated.

  5. Google Launches Google Calendar in Arabic | ArabCrunch  |  November 5th, 2008 at 10:52 PM #

    […] is part of its plan to continue serve the Arabic market, by Arabaizing all its products, and launch other apps that caters to the Arabic […]

  6. Yamli’s Competitor, Distributed Prizes to Sudoko Competition Winners | ArabCrunch  |  November 17th, 2008 at 7:29 PM #

    […] The other Arabic transliteration product which launch caused allot of criticism is Ta3reeb from Google, I have reviewed Ta3reeb here. […]

  7. Yamli Unveils its New Search Engine | ArabCrunch  |  December 16th, 2008 at 1:39 AM #

    […] more unique and adds better value. Now Yamli is better positioned to fight back at Google, when Google chose to compete with Yamli with the launch of Ta3reeb , but will Google Copy cat Yamli and launch a similar service? Time will tell but Google has to fix […]

  8. Microsoft Launches Maren, a Native Windows Arabic Transliteration | ArabCrunch  |  July 1st, 2009 at 10:27 PM #

    […] toolbar which now is updated to version 1.0. Google followed yamli’s steps and came up with Ta3reeb an online Arabic Transliteration editor and now with an API . Onkoosh on the other hand provides it […]

  9. Breaking: Google launches Native Windows Transliteration Application for 14 languages Including Arabic, Greek Hinidi, Urdu and Farsi.  |  December 15th, 2009 at 10:23 AM #

    […] Google launched Ta3reeb its online Transliteration for Arabic, which changes Latin letter into Arabic, it has been working […]

  10. عاجل: جوجل تطلق تطبيق Google IME لويندوز، يترجم الكلمات الإنجليزية صويتا إلى العربية.  |  December 15th, 2009 at 10:24 AM #

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  11. George Mar  |  March 23rd, 2010 at 8:56 AM #

    I guess, we have Yamli, t3reeb, and I heard Microsoft released a similar tool (not sure). The latest and arguably the best entry has been .

    Too many tools doing the same thing!

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