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The use of the internet - and through it Google’s products - has exploded in recent years in Egypt. From just 1% of people being online in 2000, 53.5% of the Egyptian population now use the internet and 43% of those aged 15 and above use a smartphone.

Of course, Egyptian internet users have a wide range of products and companies to choose from to search for information, watch interesting content, and support their working lives. Of the online Egyptians we polled, the majority are regular users of Google Search, Google Maps and YouTube.

While women and low income groups remain less likely to be online, they are catching up. From our polling, these groups are much more likely to have recently joined the internet and if trends continue, they will be increasingly be able to benefit from the internet.

So what are those benefits? We looked at how Google products were used, and why, across people’s daily lives, their work, and in their interactions with society and its institutions:


  • Google makes people’s lives easier. We found that Google Search saved online Egyptians around a day a year - 23 hours - and that increasingly Egyptians were able to get things done like email or researching purchases while travelling around. Google is increasingly used to support family life - helping people stay in touch and, with YouTube and Search, as a way to help children gain knowledge and learn. Google products are also used to help people pursue their hobbies and have more fun - whether that’s online with YouTube videos or offline when using Maps to find restaurants.  In total our estimates find that the total value to consumers is E£ 131 billion a year, while Search creates E£ 156 in value per month for the median Egyptian.
  • Google supports work life. We polled business leaders across Egypt and found that, increasingly, the internet is a foundational part of their companies and their productivity. Companies use Google to reach customers worldwide and get the best possible return on their advertising. Businesses also agree it has made them more customer focused. For the smallest businesses, Google is particularly important: 92% of businesses with fewer than 50 employees say free search and free office tools help them compete with bigger players. In total we estimate Google products support at least E£ 5.2 billion in economic activity in Egypt.
  • Google helps people contribute to society. Our polling found that people now think they are exposed to a wider range of views, and more sources of news, than before search engines. Our modelling also finds that Google products - particularly Maps - have a major impact on the environment, saving the equivalent of 25,000 round the world flights in carbon emissions.

How we quantified Google’s impact in Egypt

How does Egypt benefit from the transformations we discussed above? That is not something that is easy to calculate from traditional economic statistics, which often do not take full account of the full benefits created by saved time or the opportunities access to information brings. That would also have been true of the printing press or TV. But that doesn't mean that it is unimportant.

In this paper, we sought to use a range of different methods to quantify how Google products help people in their daily lives and aid economic growth.

  • To start, building on the precedent of previous Google impact reports 1, we used traditional economic modelling built upon third-party estimates of Google’s market size, potential returns on investment (ROI) and productivity enhancements to measure the economic activity driven by Google Search, Google Ads, AdSense, YouTube, and Android.
  • In order to build a broader picture of the benefits, we conducted extensive polling to ask individuals and businesses how they made use of Google products and what difference they made to their leisure, work and society. Working with the panel providers Dynata and African Business Communities, we polled a nationally representative sample of 730 adults and 455 senior business managers across Egypt, asking them 50 and 23 questions respectively about their experience using Google and other online products. Public First is a member of the British Polling Council, and full tables for all the data used in this report are available to download from the website.
  • The best methodology to accurately estimate the consumer benefits created by free internet services is still a matter of intense debate amongst economists. For the purposes of this project, we experimented with a range of different methodologies, exploring how this affects the range of possible estimates, and allowing us to produce new benefits for the marginal value created by Google in Egypt.
  • Finally, we explored 15 in-depth case studies of how businesses and individuals across Egypt are using Google to power their business.

We go into greater depth on our methodology in the last chapter, which explores how it compares and contributes to the wider debate on measuring the value created by the Internet. The full technical details are given in an appendix at the end of the report

While Google commissioned this report from Public First, it did not supply any additional information and all estimates are derived from official, third party and proprietary information.

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10 ways in which the lives of Egyptians are being helped by Google and the internet


We polled online Egyptians across regions, age groups and gender and found, together with our modelling, that:




















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Helping people spend time on what matters

Introduction

We all want to spend time on what matters. We might be focused on time with our families. We may want to pursue new hobbies and interests. Or we might just want to be able to relax.

What we want hasn’t changed much in recent decades.  But our polling of online Egyptians across regions, ages and gender did find that how we get what we want has changed substantially.

We uncovered four key ways that  Google’s different products now help people juggle work, family, and other interests:

  1. It helps us get things done - so we can spend time on what matters. Google Search and Google Maps - particularly when used on smartphones like Android - are a fast and convenient way to get things done. In total, Google Search saves the average person 23 hours a year.

  2. It helps support family life.  Children use Google Search and YouTube for homework. We look to the internet to keep in touch with our family across the world, and Google Products are increasingly a source of information and advice on health and wellbeing.

  3. It helps us pursue new interests. YouTube is increasingly used by Egyptians - and has overtaken traditional TV with young audiences. What do people use YouTube for? To follow their interests - music, sports, games, beauty - and help them with what they’re doing at home, whether it’s cooking or DIY. At the same time Google Search is being used to help people find new information and increase their knowledge.

  4. It helps us find a way of enjoying the free time we have. One of the advantages of saved time is that you can use it on the things you enjoy. Again, people in Egypt are using Google products to help them do that – by watching programmes on YouTube; or downloading games and apps on the Google Play store.

All of this equates to significant value. Our modelling found that Google’s products create at least E£131 bn in consumer surplus for the Egyptian economy.

Google is used by an ever-greater proportion of Egyptians

A rapidly increasing number of Egyptians are using the internet

Increase internet usage in Egypt

In 2000 just 1% of Egyptians used the internet. Since then there has been an explosion in demand and access. In 2018 - for the first time - over half of the Egyptian population got online, and in 2019 penetration has increased further to 53.5%2 3.

In our poll of Egyptians, smartphone usage has also substantially increased. 18% of respondents had started using a smartphone regularly in the last three years.

When did you start using a smartphone?

Egyptians online are turning to Google’s products

We first wanted to understand if internet users in Egypt were choosing to use Google products or alternatives. We polled online Egyptians across regions, age groups and gender and found that the equivalent of:

Many of those people are new. Over 83% of Google Maps users and 50% of YouTube users started regularly turning to the products in the last five years. Egyptians are also finding Google Maps and YouTube increasingly useful: compared with five years ago,  84% use YouTube more frequently; and 60% use Google Maps more frequently.

When did you start regularly using...

Getting things done

Why do so many people use Google products? Our polls and economic modelling find that Google’s Search and Maps services are faster and more convenient than the alternatives. This provides direct benefits - Egyptians can find answers to their questions and get to locations more quickly - but it also frees up time for other endeavours. That ability to get things done has been enhanced by the increasing use of the internet through using smartphones, which in Egypt are usually Android.

Saving precious time

Saving time with Search

From our polling we know the reason that people use Search so heavily is because they believe it allows them to find valuable information easily, quickly, and learn new things that traditional methods make difficult. When we offered people a range of reasons why people use Search:

Speed

83%

83% said speed:
it is faster than alternatives;

Convenience

79%

and 79% said convenience:
it is easier than the alternatives.

How much time do you save with Search?

Previous research has found that people save at least 23 hours a year from Search compared with other methods of finding information because it is faster and easier to access. If you included the time saved by applying the new information from Google – trying out a new recipe, or learning a new skill – the time saved would be even greater.

In 23 hours or less you can:

  • Walk from New Cairo City to the Suez Canal (El-Shaarawy)4
  • Watch Grand Hotel 1.5 times over, or 46 episodes5
  • Read Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz 3 times.6
How much do people use Google Search?

Google’s stated mission is to “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” But how much does access to information matter? How much do Egyptians in their everyday life look for new information?

The answer is that they need it a lot. Our poll found that 2 in 5 adult Egyptians use Google Search. Google Search is now one of the most-used consumer services. Indeed, if you considered its impact on domestic life, the average is more than two times as likely to use Google daily than domestic appliances such as irons. It is embedded in our lives.

Usage of Google Search by Age
Saving time with Maps

Until relatively recently, we relied on atlases and paper maps to find new places. We may also have got into arguments about directions while driving, or been worried about going to unknown locations on our own.

Today, the equivalent of one in three Egyptians turn to Google Maps at least once a month and a high proportion of those use it daily. When we asked a series of questions about why people used Google Maps, we saw that saving time - through avoiding traffic, avoiding getting lost, or to getting better directions - was very common.

Our modelling estimates find that people save three hours a year through using Google Maps – sometimes in their car, and sometimes using public transport or walking.

Percentage using Google Maps at least once a month to...

Anywhere, anytime

Answering questions and getting work done while on the go

A few years ago, people were still predominantly using the internet on computers, sitting at a desk or in an internet café. But the most recent transformation has been our ability to access information, get to places, and do things while we’re on the go.

86% of  the Egyptians we polled are Android users and over 93% are smartphone users.

We identified four interesting ways in which Egyptians use these products while on the go.

Egyptians now get things done while they travel

First, smartphones and Android have changed our experience as we travel.

Egyptians increasingly spend their travelling time:

While travelling or running errands during day to day life, how likely are you to...
Use Google Search to answer a question74%
Answered your work email or done other work60%
Checked your calendar37%
Use Maps or a calendar reminder to avoid being late to a meeting29%
Real-time information helps Egyptians make better purchases

Second, we found that people are using their ability to ask questions online to support better decisions offline. 87% say they use their phone to research a potential purchase in a shop in the last year. This allows them to avoid products which get poor reviews, and make sure they are paying a good price.

Egyptians now decide what to do while on the go - and get there as fast as possible

Third, it is changing how Egyptians find new experiences at home. Restaurants and businesses once relied on word of mouth. Tourists would often stick to places that were near major sights, rather than go to higher quality places elsewhere. Now Google Maps gives accurate, real time information- live traffic view has been available in Egypt since 2015.7


How often do you use Google Maps to...
Find a local business64%
Find a nearby restaurant or cafe73%
Get directions while travelling64%
Avoid traffic congestion or public transport delays64%

Search is also used for this purpose. 77% of those we polled said they had used Google Search to help them find a restaurant and 77% have also used Search to find a local class or activity.

Google products support tourism - in Egypt and for Egyptians abroad

The internet has transformed the way in which we travel and enjoy holidays. Online rating sites, real time information on flights and costs, and the ability to navigate around strange places have helped us have relaxing holidays that live up to our expectations.

In our polling we wanted to understand whether Egyptians who are online use Google’s services while on holiday. We found that many of them did:

63%

63% of online Egyptians we polled said they used Google Maps to help them find their way around while on holiday or business trips;
50%

and 50% of online Egyptians we polled said they used Google Search to help them find places to stay or potential activities.

There’s also some signs that people are increasingly adventurous. 82% of online Egyptians say they have been more likely to try a new place because they know they have online directions and would never get lost.

Maps: Virtual Tour

In 2014, Google launched a virtual tour of the Pyramids of Giza and 5 historical sites across Egypt in Google Street View. They’ve used 360º mapping, aerial imagery and millions of photos stitched together, to recreate Egypt’s most beautiful and iconic panoramas for you to explore. The interactive Maps experience takes visitors on an immersive journey into Egypt’s ancient history. The Pyramids are amongst the top 10 viewed sites on Google Maps.

The Pyramids of Giza have survived nearly five millennia and are the planet’s oldest man-made wonder. Their legacy—and the legacy of many other sites of ancient Egyptian culture—are preserved with panoramic and immersive Street View imagery.


AI assistants on the go

35% of Egyptian internet people told us they had tried using an AI personal assistant, (such as Siri, Google Assistant, or Cortana). These users were almost exclusively phone users - suggesting that Google Assistant and its equivalents on other smartphone devices are increasingly popular. Google Assistant specifically was launched in Egypt in May 2019 - it is therefore likely that in future years its usage will grow.

Google Assistant

Google launched Google Assistant in Egypt in May 2019. The Google Assistant is a virtual assistant available on mobile devices designed to help people get more things done with their phone. The Google Assistant can understand the Egyptian dialect and supports hands-free calling. It is designed to support requests from booking flights and finding cinema timings to searching for new job opportunities. The Assistant is designed to help internet users get more things done with their phone while they are on the go (like driving or exercising), at work (setting alarms, quickly finding information on the web), or while they are with friends and family (jokes, singing fun songs). It will be able to complete a range of tasks using your phone without having to touch your device. While building the Assistant in Arabic, Google relied on machine learning and natural language processing (which helps the Assistant understand Arabic) and natural language generation (which helps it speak Arabic). The team behind the Assistant also developed new technology necessary to process and generate diacritics, the accents used in Arabic to pronounce the same letters in different ways. Diacritics are an element necessary for Arabic pronunciation since the language has many words that may have the same letters but mean different things, and diacritics help differentiate between those words.

Supporting family life

A recent Harvard University study that tracked people over 80 years found that the biggest predictor of happiness was the number of ‘warm relationships’ we have with other people. 8 Many of those relationships are with our families: our children; our partners; our parents; and others.

We found through our polling that Google products are increasingly used to support family life. Because family life is complicated and multifaceted, there are lots of different ways that support manifests - through helping children learn; through connecting with loved ones online; or by keeping us healthy and safe.

Supporting children’s learning

Google Search and YouTube are used by millions of students to support their study to history, science, geography and more. They have the ability to find any piece of information within seconds, from a wide range of reputable sources: worldwide, there are over 500 million views of learning-related content every day.

In our poll we found that 74% of parents online say that their children used Google Search to help with their homework. 73% of online parents use Search as a source of advice on their children - their development, their diet, and useful activities for them.

Digitising Egypt’s school curriculum

Google worked with Nafham to digitize Egyptian school curriculum and make it available on YouTube.

Nafham is an online educational YouTube channel and App that provides school students with free access to educational videos that explain school curricula (pre-school to 12th grade) in Egypt. Their channel currently has almost 10,000 videos (many of which are crowdsourced), over 750,000 subscribers, and over 121 million views. The founders created the YouTube channel with the aim to instil in students a love for education and a deeper understanding of the learning process, while reducing cultural obstacles to educational success that exist in some environments, and reducing the need for families to have to resort to private tutoring. This free online K-12 crowd-sourced educational platform is linked to the mandated public curriculum and provides 5 to 20 minute videos that are checked and revised by professionals. The videos explain concepts usually studied in class using different approaches and are categorized by grade, subject, term and academic schedule.

How parents keep their children safe online

Google has a number of features designed to give parents control over their childrens’ screen time. Activity reports show how much time they’re spending on particular apps. Notifications also allow responsible adults to block apps and manage any purchases.

Google’s feature Family Link also allows parents and carers to set limits on screen time; bed times; and to lock devices.

If parents are ever worried about their child’s whereabouts you can use Family Link to locate their device.

Keeping in touch with friends and family

Once upon a time, if family-members moved, then it was vastly-more difficult to stay in contact. Over time, a more efficient global overseas postal services appeared. As phone calls became cheaper, they became another way that people stayed in touch.

Today, the internet has made seamless, instant, free communication possible. People can email, message each other, or talk to each other on video for much less than before.

We found that the internet is increasingly becoming a way that people forge and maintain relationships. From our polling 54% of online Egyptians have forged a new friendship through online means. We also found that:

  • 94% of online Egyptians use their smartphone or computer to keep in touch with people (this could include email, social media services or video); and
  • 95% use it to keep in touch with extended family.

Android and other smartphones are also important in maintaining relationships. 79% of those we polled said that they are able to communicate with friends or family that they otherwise wouldn’t have spoken to at that time on a weekly basis.

Improving health and wellbeing

We all worry about our own health and those of the people we love. One of the advantages of the internet is that it gives people information about medical issues that - previously - they would have had to make demands on medical services for. We found from our polling that each year 91% of people use Google Search to look up questions about medical and health issues.

They also use it to think about their own wellbeing. 55% have used Search to look up local activities including fitness activities, and 83% have also used YouTube for fitness and wellbeing concerns.

AMIR_BARSOUM
Amir Barsoum, Founder & CEO of Vezeeta

Helping Egyptians find the right healthcare provider

To help grow the healthcare sector, Google partnered with Vezeeta, one of the leading healthcare platforms in Egypt, to enable healthcare providers to leverage the opportunity the web has to offer by creating free business profiles on Google My Business, which helps businesses reach and engage with customers across Google Search and Maps.

Promoting safety and security online

ABTAL-AI-INTERNET-WORKSHOP
Abtal Al Internet

Safety programmes

Google announced the launch of “Abtal Al Internet” (English translation is “Internet Heroes”), a multifaceted program designed to teach children the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety in Arabic. “Abtal Al Internet” provides a range of resources and online activities for children, educators and parents to encourage digital safety and citizenship. The program also includes “A’lam Al Internet” (English translation is “Interland”), an online adventure which reflects the fundamentals of digital safety into hands-on practice for children to learn about online reputation, phishing and scams, privacy and security, online harassment and reporting inappropriate content. Google surveyed teachers in the Arab world to learn about their experience with online safety in the classroom. According to research, the majority of teachers believe children should start learning about online safety at home, and 98% of teachers believe that online safety should be part of the curriculum. One in three teachers reported that they had witnessed an online safety incident (sharing personal information or cyberbullying, for example) in their school. However, 84% of them said they do not have the necessary resources to teach online safety to their students.

INTERLAND_GAME
A’lam Al Internet

So far, over 30,000 students, parents and teachers have been trained on internet safety through the Abtal Al Internet program.

Pursuing interests and developing knowledge

Finding and developing new passions

YouTube allows people to pursue their interests

YouTube is used by people of all ages, and 2 in 5 adult Egyptians use YouTube. For Egyptians, we also find that under 35 year old internet users are likely to report watching it alongside - but more than - traditional TV.

However the pattern of watching YouTube is significantly different from traditional entertainment. Egyptians are much more likely to watch it for 30 minutes or less than for extended periods of time.

How often do you use YouTube on an average day?

So why is YouTube so popular - and why do people watch it in such a different way from traditional TV or movies?

We found that the kind of content that people use YouTube for is very different from traditional TV. People use YouTube to pursue their hobbies and interests - at home and online:

In some cases, young Egyptians are more likely to turn to free resources on YouTube than traditional paid help or entertainment. For example, we found that 18-24 year old Egyptians are more likely to:

  • Learn about fitness and health (including workout videos) on YouTube; and
  • Watch music videos; TV shows; vloggers; or DIY and cooking tutorials on YouTube than go to the cinema.

This has the potential to save people substantial amounts of money on, for example, gym fees.

Having fun (music)

Earlier in this report we described the ways in which YouTube helps people pursue hobbies and passions. But we also find that a lot of Egyptians use YouTube for more traditional entertainment.

BOYBAND
Boyband

Boyband is a pop music group formed in Egypt in 2014. Boyband was established by Hisham Gamal, the CEO of Roznama as well as a Producer, Singer, and Songwriter. The group consists of Hisham Gamal, Mohamed Gamal, and Mohamed Fouad. The group rose to fame with their debut song which was released exclusively on YouTube, “Eshha Bedmaghak” crossed 500,000 views within the first few hours of its release and now has over 11 million views. In the following year, they released their second hit song “Manzara” featuring Donia Samir Ghanem, which grew the group's success further.

The search for knowledge

As well as the convenience and ease with which Google products help people get things done, we also found that a high percentage of online Egyptians use Google Search to gain new knowledge and information. When we polled people we found:

Google Scholar: access to the world’s best research

From science and history to economics, academics across Egypt seek to advance human knowledge and understanding. Google Scholar helps people access that research. It is a simple way to search for academic literature across sectors and disciplines: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Some studies have found Google Scholar to have both better sources and to be more usable than other methods of finding academic papers.9

DR_MONICA_HANNA
Dr. Monica Hanna, Head of the Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Unit and Associate Dean of Admissions and Registration at The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport.

Dr. Monica Hanna is an Archeologist at Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport. She began her academic studies at the American University in Cairo, where she majored in Egyptology with a minor in Archaeological Chemistry. She then pursued her doctorate at the University of Pisa. Throughout her studies and especially since completing her PhD, she has been actively using Google Scholar, in fact she uses it 2-3 per day to research and write about protecting Egypt's archaeological sites. So far, she contributed 10 citations covering Egyptian archaeology and history. Dr. Monica Hanna is currently the Founding Dean and Head of the Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Unit and Associate Dean of Admissions and Registration at The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport. According to Dr. Monica, Google Scholar helped her establish the College of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage and its curriculum, programs and departments in Aswan.

Dr. Monica’s Archaeology students also rely on Google Scholar for classroom discussions and assignments. Dr. Monica received the 2014 SAFE Beacon award and was recognized as “Monuments Woman” by UNESCO.


Discovering new facts and stories through Google Doodles

Google Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists. A group of Googlers get together regularly to brainstorm and decide which events will be celebrated with a doodle. The ideas for the doodles come from numerous sources including Googlers and Google users. The doodle selection process aims to celebrate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google's personality and love for innovation. Google Doodles are seen by millions of visitors to the Google homepage across desktop and mobile devices.

doodle_doria_shafik
Google Doodle celebrating Doria Shafik’s 108th Birthday
DOODLE_FOUAD_EL_MOHANDES
Google Doodle celebrating Fouad el-Mohandes’ 92nd birthday

Over the years Google celebrated inspiring figures like legendary Egyptian actor and comedian Fouad el-Mohandes where Google highlighted his contribution to plays, TV shows, and motion pictures through the doodle, Google also celebrated Egyptian painter Tahia Halim who commonly depicted the Nile and boats through a folkloric impressionist style and signature brush strokes. On International Women’s Day, Google featured women in Egypt in their #OneDayIWill campaign filmed at the Pyramids.

DOODLE_TAHIA_HALIMS
Google Doodle celebrating Tahia Halim’s 96th Birthday
DOODLE_KHUFU_SHIP
Google Doodle celebrating the 65th Anniversary of the Khufu Ship Discovery

Entertainment and free time

Supporting culture

Ramadan with Google: Prayer Timings, Qibla Finder, and Qalam from Google

To make it easier to find everything you need during Ramadan, Google created a special tool in the Middle East and North Africa and Indonesia that appears when you search for “Ramadan” on Google. You’ll find customized, locally relevant information—everything from tips and prayer timings to the most popular recipes —all right in your Search results.

three phones
Ramadan with Google: Prayer Timings, Qibla Finder, and Qalam from Google

Millions of Muslims around the world turn to Mecca every day for prayer. Google launched Qibla Finder, a web app that uses augmented reality to show you the direction of the Qibla wherever you are in the world. Google now enabled offline usage and a shortcut to add Qibla Finder to your Android homescreen, so you can locate Mecca when you’re on the move.

Ramadan and Eid greeting cards are the top trending searches before, during and after Ramadan. To help you create beautiful personalized messages to share during Ramadan, Google launched Qalam from Google.

ARTS_CULTURE
Arts and Culture

Google Arts and Culture

Google Arts & Culture is an online platform through which the public can access high-resolution images of artworks housed in the initiative's partner museums. The Google Arts & Culture app is free and available on the web, on iOS and Android.

Google Arts & Culture puts over 1,500 museums at your fingertips. It’s a free, immersive way to explore art, history and wonders of the world.

Google launched a special experience within the Google Arts & Culture platform, where people can explore the treasures of ancient Egypt through a series of drawings, historic photographs and artifacts from the famed sites.

The value of Google products in daily life

In this chapter we have detailed all the ways in which Google products help people in their daily lives. But how significant is all this - what is the monetary value created by Google products to Egyptians? How much would they have to be paid to stop using the products? This number is what's known as consumer surplus.

In order to better understand the value of Google, a new estimate of the consumer surplus has been produced for Google Search, YouTube, and Google Maps.

We found that:

Total

136bn


The total consumer surplus of these three products is equivalent to E£ 136 bn, or E£ 155 a month for the median person

Google Search

71bn


For Google Search, the total consumer surplus is equivalent to E£ 71 bn, or E£ 87 a month for the median person.

YouTube

48bn


For YouTube, the total consumer surplus is E£ 48 bn a year, or E£ 53 per month for the median person.

Google Maps

12bn


For Google Maps, the total consumer surplus is E£ 12 billion a year or E£ 15 per month for the median person.


Together, this evidence suggests that traditional statistics like GDP might be doing a poor job of measuring the value created by the Internet. Other studies have found that if you included the value of free internet services within GDP, it would increase the recent rate of GDP by the equivalent of 0.3 percentage points a year. We explain the methodology of the findings in the last chapter.




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Supporting work and businesses

Introduction

Google’s services have become increasingly essential in the workplace. That is true of individual employees - who use Google Search to find the right job and career and who rely on Google products such as Search and G-Suite to operate effectively.

It is also true of businesses. We found that companies increasingly rely on Google products to operate and be productive. We also found that Google Search, and its underlying model of advertising, is extremely important to Egyptian businesses and helps them reach their customers and find new ones across the world.

That applies to businesses of all kinds. Small businesses have had their costs reduced as a result of Google products, including free tools and cheaper and more targeted advertising. This in turn helps them compete with larger players. Completely new kinds of businesses - including YouTube creators and new publishers - have been founded because of opportunities online.

Altogether, we estimate Google products support at least E£ 5.2 economic activity in Egypt.

As with the consumer story, we find that the value created by Google for the Egyptian economy is growing fast. The economic activity supported by Search and Google Ads has more than tripled in the last five years, and is likely to double again in the next four.


Finding jobs and boosting skills

A recent study by the World Economic Forum found that by 2020, 1 in 5 jobs in the Arab world will require digital skills that aren’t widely available today. 45% of young people consider unemployment their biggest concern and only 38% believe their education gives them the skills they need to enter the workforce. Many women are contributing to the innovation coming out of the Arab world, yet this region has among the lowest female economic involvement globally. In Egypt, women represent nearly half of the country’s college graduates. But only 23% of women participate in the workforce.

From our polling we found that one of the ways in which people use Google is to help them get the right jobs and careers. Businesses themselves turn to Google products - particularly Google Search - to understand how to be more efficient and productive. Google’s own programmes - including Digital Workshop - have been designed to help individuals and companies to become more skilled and prepare for the jobs of the future.

Supporting career development

The job market is changing. It is increasingly likely that people will have several jobs and careers over their lifetime. Young people must be adaptable and be willing to increase their skills and education over time.

In Egypt, it’s clear that people already understand this. We find that increasingly, online Egyptians are using the internet to navigate their career. 74% regularly use Search 10 to research and search for new jobs. They also use Search to improve their chances of getting the right job: 85% of online 18-24 year olds use Search to get advice on their CVs.11 Interestingly, once women are online, they are slightly more likely - by 8 percentage points - to use Google Search to look for a job.

Google Jobs

In September 2018, Google launched its Jobs search feature in Egypt. When people search for “jobs near me”, “teaching jobs”, or similar queries they can go to a feature that lets them explore jobs from across the web. The results include details under each job position including its exact location, the date it was posted, and details about the role by the employer.

COLLAB
Job Search Feature

Google collaborated with 11 job portals that have a local and regional coverage including Emploitic, Novojob, Rekrute, WUZZUF, Forasna, Bayt, Jobzella, Wzayef, Akhtaboot, Laimoon, and GulfTalent to launch the feature, and all jobs providers can make their job openings discoverable in this experience. Anyone searching for jobs on Google will see postings from these sites and many others from across the web as soon as they’re posted.

Helping business leaders work more efficiently

To thrive and grow, companies must constantly improve and adapt to a changing world. To do that, business leaders must stay on top of trends and opportunities, be aware of what their competitors are doing, and constantly improve their own practices and management.

We found that companies were using search engines to do just that. All of the business leaders we polled - all of which are online in some capacity - said they had used search engines to help improve their skills; keep up to date with industry trends; or understand business opportunities and competitors.

Preparing people for jobs of the future - Digital Workshop

Digital Workshop (Maharat)

To address the growing skills gap in the region’s workforce, and to help ensure that opportunities created by technology are available to everyone, Google launched Maharat min Google (the English translation is “Building Capabilities with Google”). It’s an initiative to help Arabic speakers, specifically women and young people, get ready for future job opportunities, advance their careers, or grow their businesses. Maharat min Google will provide free courses, tools and in-person digital skills training to students, educators, job seekers and businesses. The online platform includes over 100 lessons and explanatory videos covering a range of digital marketing skills including search engine marketing, social media, video, e-commerce and more.

Since its launch, over 220,000 individuals (50% women) have been trained on digital skills and 1 in 4 individuals have found jobs, grew their business or their career.

The majority of the individuals trained on Maharat are from Egypt.

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Maharat

Google collaborated with several partners to bring the training to more individuals in Egypt. Partners include The National Training Academy (NTA) which will lead on-ground trainings with a focus on youth and women in rural and underprivileged communities, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) which trained over 100 women, the Ministry of International Investment and Cooperation (MIIC) which is training entrepreneurs through the Fekretak Sherketak program, and  ICDL Arabia which is training thousands of students across universities and vocational institutes in Egypt.

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Rania Seddik, Founder of GebRaa

Rania is so passionate about preserving traditional Egyptian craftsmanship that she created Gebraa, an online platform that connects local artisans to potential buyers therefore using technology to help their rural businesses thrive. With the help of Google tools and digital skills education, Rania was able to help grow her business online. Rania learned how to create and optimize a website, best practices for e-commerce and how to reach customers locally and internationally. Anyone can now learn these skills and more through Maharat min Google, a free digital education platform. Today, Rania has empowered over 1,500 artisans to keep Egyptian arts and crafts alive by connecting them to buyers from around the world.

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Reem Fawzi, Founder of Pink Taxi

Reem Fawzi founded Egypt’s Pink Taxi, which provides safe transportation for women. Thanks to her vision and determination coupled with the right digital skills and access to Google products like Google Maps, Google Play, Google Ads, and others, she grew Pink Taxi from 5 women employees to over 450.

Improving productivity

While Egypt continues to grow economically, it has often struggled to reach its potential in terms of productivity,12 while adoption of new technology lags behind some other economies. Despite this, however, when we poll Egyptians we find that for many of them the internet and Google products have already become a major part of the work day - and, crucially, Egyptians do not believe their companies could function as successfully without them.

Improving our productivity at work

Increasingly, Egyptian employees are turning to the internet to become more productive, including through Google products:

Google Search

93%


93% of online Egyptians use Google Search at work, with 25% of them using it during the majority of the work day;

Google Maps

58%


58% have used Google Maps regularly in the course of the work day (including on their commute).

While not used as intensively, just 24% of online Egyptians said they had not come across Google Apps, such as Google Docs and Google Sheets in the course of their work. 38% of company leaders said they had employees that used G-Suite and Google Apps.

It is not just that Egyptians use Google tools at work. They also find them important: 32% of the Egyptian employees we polled also said that without a search engine, their work would be more difficult and take longer to do, while a further 13% said it would be impossible.

As work patterns change, it is likely that the impact on Egyptian employees will be even greater. For example, 94% of the business leaders we polled said that internet usage had made it easier for employees to work remotely.

Improving companies’ productivity

61% of leaders believe there are significant  advantages in online over traditional tools. Because of this, they increasingly use them as the backbone of their companies’ operations. When we asked online company leaders how long their businesses could survive without access to different online and offline service we found that:

  • 72% of companies could only survive a few days without access to the internet;
  • Just 58% could survive more than a few days without access to search engines.

This was a higher percentage than needed public transport within a few days (57%).

Perhaps most importantly, we saw a correlation between companies seeing strong growth and those using internet services. Companies that had seen growth of 20% or more were much more likely to have at least half of their employees using a search engine or online office suite than companies which had stayed about the same size or shrunk.

Percentage of companies where more than half of employees use...


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Breadfast Team

Breadfast: Using Google products

Breadfast is an online bakery store which delivers freshly baked goods every morning to customers’ doorsteps, before they leave for work or school. Breadfast uses digital insights to fuel their growth strategy. Among many tools, Google Analytics and Android SDK were helpful in creating sustained momentum. 30% of their monthly active users are using the Android app, representing 40% of their revenue and this is growing exponentially. Currently, Breadfast employs 100 individuals across Egypt, many of whom are local bakers that are now able to connect to customers through Breadfast’s digital platform.

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Ibrahim Hamdy, CEO of Arab Hardware

Arab Hardware: Using Google products

Arab Hardware is one of the largest Tech/Gaming communities in the MENA region established in 2002. Since early 2019, the Arab Hardware team started to transition almost all of their team members to fully use Google solutions including Google Meet (for Conference Calls), Google Chat (for all internal Team Chats), Chromebook OS (shifting from using the regular notebooks to ChromeOS especially for the team members who work mostly on the cloud) and Google G-Suite. They are now a team of 30 employees who rely on various Google services and Cloud solutions including Google Drive products and many others. They are also moving towards entirely relying on Chromebooks. According to Arab Hardware, Google products have reduced their costs dramatically by offering a better and lighter solution.

The future of productivity

Google is already a major contributor to the economy and its productivity. In total, our estimates suggest that Google is driving at least E£ 5.2 billion in economic value.

The vast majority of this value is through other businesses – particularly domestic businesses. Google works by helping companies and creators start, grow, and find new customers.

Over the next decade, that contribution is likely to grow as the application of cloud computing and machine learning enables computers to take over boring and routine tasks, allowing employees to focus on where they can best add value.

In total, our estimates suggest that AI and the wider digital economy has the potential to boost the economy in Egypt by 27% by 2050, boosting average growth rates by an average 0.9 percentage points a year. The impact of digital on the economy – and in every sector – is only just beginning.

As one example of the potential impact of AI,the average employee in Egypt today spends almost two hours a day in administrative tasks, such as filling out paperwork, submitting expenses or booking a meeting room. Google has already demonstrated tasks that can suggest standard email replies, find a suitable slot for a meeting or book an appointment. If we could use AI to take over just 10% of these tasks, it would save the average employee the equivalent of 55 hours in work time a year, freeing up their time for more creative tasks and boosting productivity by 2.3%.

Helping businesses reach customers across the world

Google products have transformed how many customers businesses can reach

In the history of advertising, the first ads were signposts in the road (this way to food, this way to firewood.) Advertising itself is information. Over time, people worked out that it’s a better use of time and resources to place signs closer to the destination. Advertising was always about reaching people at the best possible moment: when they were most interested in buying the thing.

With the 20th century came mass media. Mass media meant an expansion and infusion of new voices in media. Genre entertainment (such as Westerns, situation comedies, and news shows) was largely premised on the ability to define audience segments as well as generate scale, and sell advertising on that basis. Then radio disrupted newspapers, TV disrupted radio and mass-market magazines, and along came the internet. Today, websites, blogs, video content — nearly all of that is funded by ads.

Google’s chief innovation was using data to:

  • Help advertisers reach people at the best possible moment
  • Help them ensure that their pounds were well spent
  • Enabling niche businesses to target those with very specific interests

That means fewer, better ads – and an improved user experience for the consumer.

For businesses however, it has been even more transformative: enabling a new long tail of ultra-specialised small businesses, serving customers worldwide. At the same time, it has made it easier for small businesses to compete with larger enterprises – meaning that organisations no longer have to commission expensive TV or print advertising campaigns to reach target customers but can focus much more clearly. The internet is the best answer yet to the age-old complaint of market managers: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

On average, Google estimates that for every pound businesses spend on Google Ads, they receive back E£ 8 in profit. On average, businesses receive back E£ 2 for every E£1 they spend. This in turn is further boosted by traffic that comes through organic search, with other estimates suggesting that businesses receive around five clicks on their search results for every one click on their ads.13

Using YouTube to increase brand awareness at Telecom Egypt

Telecom Egypt Case Study

Telecom Egypt, founded in 1854, is Egypt's telecommunications incumbent. In September 2017, Telecom Egypt launched its 4G service under the Brand WE, targeting WE to become the retail Brand for all of its communication service.

WE launched a highly targeted campaign that spanned video, display, search and social media platforms. “While prepaid customers are basically mass audience, we managed to drive massive sales online. The campaign saw mobile payment conversions increase by 153%, while Mobile service portal signups increased by an incredible 494%." WE chose to use YouTube due to the high mass reach techniques. The YouTube campaign ran for a period of one month using a variety of formats such as TrueView, Bumper and Masthead ads. To ensure they were reaching the right people, we made use of remarketing tools and in-market and affinity audiences. WE achieved 80% reach among the intended audience and an average watchtime that was 484% better than previous blast campaigns of similar duration. Thanks to the use of remarketing and ad sequencing, they managed to increase the average view duration for each video through the campaign, achieving a view-through rate that was more than 30% higher than industry benchmarks. In all, they gained 19,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel, contributing to over 25% of their current subscriber base.

Businesses of any size can find new markets

One of the biggest transformations of the internet is that businesses – no matter how small – can reach anywhere across the globe. This has allowed businesses to appeal to customers outside their village, town, or city and increase their growth and profits - 79% say it is easier for global customers to find their business because of online search. Market Finder has made it easier than ever before for businesses to export.

It is not just global customers. Tools like Google Maps and Google My Business have made it easier for people locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to find new businesses like restaurants. 34% of the business leaders we polled said that Google Maps was essential to the running of their business.

Google My Business: Lucille’s Restaurant

Google My Business allows business owners to showcase their business listing, location and information on Google search.

Egypt’s Lucille's Restaurant based in Maadi was founded in 1995. A few years ago, the owners of Lucille's Restaurant started their online journey by creating their Google My Business profile which enabled them to reach more customers through Google Search and Google Maps for free.

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Lucille’s Restaurant

Google My Business: Yellow Media

Egypt Yellow Media is the official owner of Yellow pages in Egypt. Founded in 1988, their mission is to help businesses optimise their online presence.

Google partnered up with Yellow media to facilitate and enable businesses to be present online via Google My Business. Within a few months of launching ~ 3500 businesses were onboarded.

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Yellow Media

Businesses have become increasingly customer-centric

In the first section of this report we described the way in which the internet and Google products made it easier to find businesses - but also to know from other consumers their experiences and the quality of what those companies provide. In our poll of Egyptians online we found that 84% thought they made better purchasing decisions because of online information.

Unsurprisingly this has had an impact. 86% of business leaders think that maintaining high levels of customer or client satisfaction is more important than before search engines existed.

Helping ecosystems thrive

Helping SMBs start and grow

If anyone wanted to start a large export business twenty years ago, they would probably have had to invest up front in an international advertising campaign, your own in-house IT servers and expensive software licences.

Today, free online tools, cloud computing, and the ability to communicate to customers across the globe have dramatically reduced the barriers to entry for start-ups.

  • 84% say that the costs of starting a business have reduced substantially or dramatically because of internet tools such as Search;
  • 92% of businesses with under 50 employees say free search and free office tools are important to them being able to compete with bigger players.

Google products aren’t just helping big businesses, they are helping smaller companies as well:

  • 72% of businesses with under 50 employees believe that they could not run their business without search engines;
  • 66% of businesses with under 50 employees believe that they could not run their business without smartphones.

The new developer ecosystem

Android – Google’s operating system used on a wide range of phones made by different manufacturers – has allowed a whole industry of developers to create apps that make people’s lives easier and more entertaining.

Google Play store

Many developers take advantage of growth opportunities enabled by Google Play, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is a fast growing region for Google Play, and one that represents a sizable revenue opportunity. In fact, more than 75% of MENA smartphones run Android.

Google Developer Training

Google Developer Groups (GDGs) are local groups of developers who are specifically interested in Google products and APIs. Each local group is called a GDG chapter and can host a variety of technical activities for developers - from just a few people getting together to watch our latest videos, to large gatherings with demos and tech talks, to hackathons. One of the core programs GDG cover is Google's Women Techmakers program which provides visibility, community, and resources for women in technology. There are 15 GDG groups across 15 cities in Egypt, members have launched over 320 events in the last two years, training over 27,000 participants.

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Bassant Todary, Android Developer, Women Techmakers Ambassador & Cairo Lead, Google Developers Group Member, Flutter Co-organizer

After pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at El Shorouk Academy, Bassant Todary went on to expand her knowledge and skills by completing several Computer Science nanodegrees and certifications. In 2015, Bassant started her journey with Google Developer Groups (GDGs), she is now a Team Lead for GDG Cairo as well as Women Techmakers Cairo. “[GDG] helped me start my Android development career,” said Bassant Todary. “It always provides us with rich technical content and experienced speakers, because the organizers put their heart into empowering our community.” Her GDG has had a huge impact on her career. “My first quest was Intro to Google Cloud. It was easy and fun and encouraged me to complete more in the future…I [learned] a lot of personal and presentation skills that qualified me to talk about my company’s projects.”

Mobile App Launchpad

The Mobile Application Launchpad (MAL) is a program by the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Google, in collaboration with Udacity, that helps mobile developers in Egypt build great apps and businesses. The initiative aims to stimulate growth of tech startups and to avail job opportunities for the Egyptian youth. Students received scholarships and had access to trained and certified coaches. Over 2000 participated in the program with more than ten startups and 12 individuals received monetary prizes and access to career fairs.

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Ahmed Medhat Zayed and Tareq Mandour, Founders of Mazboot

Ahmed Medhat Zayed and Tareq Mandour are the Founders of Mazboot. As a result of their participation in the Mobile App Launchpad (MAL program), they developed Mazboot, the first Arabic mobile in-app coach for helping diabetic patients self-manage their disease and get consultations from doctors. After Mazboot had received a grant from Google (MAL program), they joined "Falak Startups" accelerator through which they received pre-seed investment. For their next wave of development that includes building  AI algorithms for insureTech model specialized for diabetic patients, they are now raising funds for seed stage investment. Mazboot is now a team of 8, including Medical Specialists, Developers, and Marketing & Sales representatives. Among many tools, Android and Google Play were helpful in growing Mazboot. Over 14,000 individuals have benefited from their App on the Google Play Store, representing 90% of their user base.

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Publishers

AdSense is the Google product that allows publishers - whether multinational news organisations or bloggers - monetise their content through the sale of advertising space on their sites and apps. 68% of this ad revenue is shared with publishers.

Perhaps most importantly it means that people can make a living from doing something they love - writing and publishing their own content.

Creators

Millions enjoy having a creative aspect to their lives. For decades publishers, record labels, and TV producers have been besieged by requests from individuals wanting their work to be made more widely available. YouTube has provided many with an alternative - communicating directly to people all over the world without the need for an intermediary.

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Ahmed Abouzaid, YouTube Creator, Droos Online

Ahmed Abouzaid began his YouTube journey when he established his channel Droos Online in July 2012. His channel focuses on edutainment content, especially teaching his viewers how to master the English language through engaging and informative videos. In 2017, Ahmed left his job as an Engineer to pursue his career as a YouTube creator full time. So far, Ahmed shared over 340 videos, garnered over 2.8 million subscribers and over 116 million views from around the world.

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Adham Hamshary, YouTube Creator, Adham Around The World

Adham Hamshary is a 29 year old YouTube content creator. He studied Petroleum Engineering in Egypt and later got his Master's of Engineering from Scotland. Along with Engineering and YouTube content creation, his passions include Hockey and Fencing, in fact he was part of the Egyptian Fencing National Team for 2 years!

Adham started his YouTube channel in January 2014 and was amongst the winners of the YouTube NextUp contest which is a weeklong Creator Camp at YouTube Spaces offered to. He first heard about NextUp in May 2017 at a YouTube Creator Day event in Cairo when he had 4,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. NextUp was the encouragement he needed, he ended up reactivating his channel and grew it 10x and reached over 40,000 subscribers in only 4 months! He decided to create relatable and informative travel content to introduce his audience in Egypt and around the world to his travel experiences and insights.

Adham's channel "Adham Around The World" now specializes in Travel Tips and Travel Vlogs, his channel acts as a platform for cultural exchange through which he introduces his audience in Egypt to countries and cultures around the world and also introduces his global audience to historic and touristic sites in Egypt such as Cairo Citadel, El Gouna, and many others.

As his channel grew, Adham was invited to deliver talks about his experiences at universities in Egypt and also delivered two TEDx talks! His channel enabled him to collaborate with many programs and brands including AIESEC and WEGO. So far, Adham has traveled to over 60 countries, shared over 85 videos, garnered over 142,000 subscribers and over 5.2 million views - his dream is to continue making travel more accessible to everyone.

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YouTube Batala

YouTube launched a hub called YouTube Batala for female creators from the Middle East and North Africa which features more than 400 female creators from the region. The channel has more than 1,000 videos and is categorized by genres such as comedy, education, fitness, and many more.

Creators Academy

YouTube Creators Academy is an education platform which offers free online courses and lessons to help people understand how to use YouTube to reach people and make money.

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Helping strengthen society

Introduction

Our families, our free time and our work is important. But so is a healthily functioning society - one where citizens feel informed and able to engage with what is going on around them; where all people are able to access the benefits of the internet; and where we are protecting our world for future generations.

That’s why we spent some time trying to understand how Google impacts not only people’s work and lives, but also the institutions around us and the planet we live on. We found that increasingly the internet and Google products are:

  • Used to support an informed society based on high quality and pluralistic news;
  • Give under-represented groups including women and those on low incomes increasing access; and
  • Contribute to lower carbon emissions and sustainability.

Supporting an informed society

People also use Search to become more informed about the world. One of the great benefits is that it allows consumers to find news from more than a few days ago – something that was almost impossible before the internet (unless people were willing to spend a long time in archives). 67% of people agree that the internet makes it easier to find news stories or features that are more than a few days old.

Google News Initiative

Google announced the launch of Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge, a call for projects from news publishers of every size, as well as news startups and associations in the Middle East and Africa to submit project proposals for funding. The theme of the challenge is to increase reader engagement and / or explore new business models, such as personalization, analytics, audio & voice applications, subscription, membership & loyalty programs. A panel will evaluate the submissions and fund selected projects up to $150k, and up to 70 percent of the total project cost. The funding will be reviewed against several criteria, including a “knowledge sharing component” -  for example, a project proposal can include publishing findings or holding a public seminar to encourage applicants to share the knowledge and learnings with others. The application window for project submissions is open. More information on eligibility, rules and criteria, and funding will be published on the Google News Initiative website.

Promoting diversity and inclusion.

Women and low-income Egyptians are increasingly turning to the internet and Google products

From our polling, we see an encouraging story about women’s use of the internet. A higher proportion of women than men started using the internet in the last five years.

When did you start using the internet?

Our polling also found that uptake is levelling out across incomes. Only those on the lowest income were more likely to say they had started using the internet regularly in the last five years and in general, those with higher incomes are less likely to have been recent internet joiners.


When did you start using the internet regularly?

The same is true for Google products - lower income people are more likely to have started using YouTube regularly in the last five years. For Google Maps, all income groups have started predominantly started using the service in the last five years.


When did you start using YouTube?
When did you start using Google Maps regularly?

Accessibility at Google

Teams at Google work to make all our products accessible.

  • Google Maps has worked with Local Guides – a network of over 50 million people – to add accessibility information to 40 million Google Maps destinations.
  • YouTube has captioned over 1 billion videos. YouTube invested in automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology to produce ever-more accurate captions.

Becoming more sustainable

Google products reduce CO2 emissions

A number of Google products have an impact on the environment.

Google is a sustainable business

As a business, Google works to be sustainable. Their data centres uses 50% less energy than the average, and they use 100% renewable energy across their operations. They also work with their supply chain to reduce environmental impact.

Google’s work for good

Google.org has a global, 5-year goal to award $1 billion in grants and contribute 1 million employee volunteer hours. It works across education, economic opportunity, and inclusion and finds partners and programmes in different countries that will help people and businesses. Throughout this document some of the relevant programmes supported by Google have been highlighted.

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Jacqluin Isaac, Completed Course at EFE Egypt (funded by Google.Org)

Google.org: EFE Egypt


Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, granted $350,000 USD to Education for Employment Foundation (EFE), in order to improve job readiness capacity for 1,500 unemployed youth in Egypt and connect participants with formal employment opportunities. In collaboration with different universities across the country, EFE offers digital skills in-person trainings in addition to career coaching sessions.

INJAZ

Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, granted  $1 million USD to INJAZ Al-Arab, a regional nonprofit organization, which is rolling out in-person trainings to 100,000 students across 14 countries in MENA focusing on youth in underprivileged and rural areas

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Calculating the overall impact of Google



Many of the benefits created by Google are not included in traditional measures of GDP

How can we estimate the total impact created by digital products and services like Google on the Egyptian economy, society and standard of living?

Traditional economic impact studies have tended to focus on the impact of a company or product on GDP. GDP itself, however, has never included everything we value or every type of work we do. Taken literally, GDP takes no account of changes in our leisure time or the amount of work we do in non market roles, such as housework or family care.

For the most part, this hasn’t mattered too much - there is reasonable evidence that GDP is highly correlated with the other things that we care about, such as a clean environment or overall happiness. GDP might not measure all that mattered, but it made a reasonable stand-in.

Imagine you had to lose one of the following for a year...

If there is one thing that is striking about the digital economy to an economist, however, it is how much of it is free. The world’s seven most popular websites - Google, YouTube, Facebook, Baidu, Wikipedia, Reddit and Yahoo!14  – are all offered without charge. As many estimates have calculated, the modern smartphone replaces what once would could have been dozens of separate devices costing thousands of pounds, including: your phone, camera, video camera, games console, alarm clock, map, satnav, book, television, DVD player, walkman, stopwatch, torch, debit card, compact mirror, step tracker, portable speaker and compass.

At the same time, as we have explored throughout this paper, digital services are increasingly both saving us time in our non-market work - making it easier to do housework or DIY - and substituting for jobs that once we might have paid someone to do for us, such as booking a flight or holiday. At the same time, they have created many types of job that did not exist before the digital era.

The combination of a lack of prices and the fact that many digital services are a completely new type of good - there is no real non digital equivalent to a search engine - makes it much more challenging for economists and statisticians to estimate how much they matter to consumers.

How we measured the value created by Google

Despite these challenges, economists have developed multiple methods that allow us to estimate how much value – or consumer surplus – is created by unpriced goods, which in this paper we have applied in turn to Google’s products, including:

  • Using time or attention as a proxy for the cost we are prepared to pay for digital goods. Money is not the only cost we have to pay to use a good or service – our time is valuable too. According to our poll, the average online Egyptian estimates that they spend over 4 hours a day on their smartphone. 
  • Asking individuals to estimate the amount they would be hypothetically willing to pay for a free service – or alternatively, what they would be willing to accept to give it up. For decades, economists and social scientists have experimented with the best way to ask individuals about their preferences over unpriced goods, such as a natural park or clean air. When designed right, these surveys can deliver surprisingly results.
  • Comparing your preferences for a free good against another good which has a price attached. Finally, rather than try and construct a hypothetical price – something we rarely do in real life – we often find it easier to compare between different items: would you rather give up your washing machine or dishwasher? 

While we have tried to directly estimate the time saved by Google services whenever possible, on other occasions we have had to rely on stated preferences, as has long been common practice in other areas where valuation is challenging, such as environmental economics. 

As a sense check, we also asked our polling recipients to rank Search, YouTube and their smartphone against other consumer goods by which they would most want to avoiding giving up - finding that, on average, internet connected Egyptians would rather lose access to their car than their smartphone or a search engine.

In total, our estimates suggest that a conservative estimate of the total consumer surplus created by Google services in Egypt is E£ 131 billion a year or E£ 156 per month for the median individual.

We believe this work supports the growing evidence in the literature that digital services are creating significant unmeasured value for ordinary people. While our estimate is already a large number, other studies have found that the value of online search as a whole could be as high as $1,458 per person a month.15

At the same time, Google’s services are also enabling a large and growing proportion of economic activity in Egypt, helping support businesses right across the country.

In total, we estimate that Google products support at least E£ 5.2 billion in economic activity in Egypt.

Methodology



As described in the main report, accurately estimating the value created by digital products is extremely challenging – and this is particularly true for products that are free at the point of use, are used widely across the economy, and contain elements of both consumption and production, as is true for many Google products.  

While we believe our estimates are based on conservative assumptions, it is worth being aware of their limitations:

  • Many of our estimates are based on the gross impact of Google’s products, as it is hard to accurately quantify what a counterfactual world without Google would look like.
  • Conversely, in some cases we have not been able to fully quantify all the impacts created by Google products, suggesting that our estimates should be viewed as a lower bound.
  • Many of our estimates make use of new polling carried out for this report – but as in any poll, consumers may underestimate or overestimate their use of products. (Full polling tables for data used in this report are available in an online appendix.)
  • Best practice in many of these areas, such as valuing an hour of leisure time or using stated preferences to calculate consumer surplus, remains an area of active academic debate.
  • Google did not provide any new or internal data to generate these estimates. All our modelling is based on third-party or public data, alongside our own internal estimates.

Consumer Benefits

Google Search

Our headline estimate of the total consumer surplus of Google Search is calculated as the geometric average of:

  • Time saved. Following the methodology of Varian (2011), we assume that using Google saves 15 minutes per question, with the average person asking 1 answerable question every 2 days. Time saved is valued at the self-reported polling data of average incomes, and we scale the overall estimate by third party estimates of Internet prevalence and polling information on Google Search usage. (More information of this overall approach can be found in the Economic Value of Google, a presentation by Google Chief Economist Hal Varian.)
  • Stated preference (Willingness to Accept). As part of our polling, we asked participants a single discrete binary choice question of “Would you prefer to keep access to Google Search or go without access to Google Search for one month and get paid [Price]” with the price offered randomised between E£5, E£10, E£20, E£50, E£100, E£200, E£500, E£1000 and E2000.  We linearly regressed the results of this poll to derive a demand curve and used this to calculate total consumer surplus per user. Finally, we scaled this estimate by third party estimates of Internet prevalence and polling information on Google Search usage.

Following Brynjolfsson et al (2017), we chose a Willingness to Accept (WTA) rather than Willingness to Pay format for our Stated Preference question as we believed this best matched the status quo, given that the majority of Google Services are free to the end user and required no up-front investment.

As with many other products, the mean consumer surplus is significantly higher than the median – or, in other words, a few dedicated users use it disproportionately more than the average.

In order to ensure that our individual level figures were not misleading, we based them not on the mean individual value for WTA compensation, but instead a separate estimate of the median WTA. We derived this by regressing our polling data again, using an exponential method which we judged was more likely to accurately represent the bottom of the distribution.

Google Maps

Our headline estimate of the total consumer surplus of Google Maps is calculated as the geometric average of:

  • Time saved. We calculate time saved by Google Maps, using estimates of time saved by advanced traveler information systems from Levinson (2003) and total time spent travelling by mode from our polling, calibrated by Egyptian Labour Force Survey data on the total time spent commuting. Time saved is valued at 37.5% of the estimated hourly income of Google Maps users, following standard practice for calculating the value of travel time savings.
  • Stated preference. As with Google Search, we asked the participants of our poll a single discrete binary choice question of “Would you prefer to keep access to Google Maps or go without access to Google Maps for one month and get paid [Price]” with the price offered randomised between E£5, E£10, E£20, E£50, E£100, E£200, E£500, E£1000 and E2000.  We linearly regressed the results of this poll to derive a demand curve and used this to calculate total consumer surplus per user. Finally, we scaled this estimate by third party estimates of Internet prevalence and polling information on Google Maps usage. In addition, we constructed a separate estimate of the median WTA compensation for losing Google Maps which we used for our per person estimates.

YouTube

Our headline estimate of the total consumer surplus of Google Search is calculated as the geometric average of:

  • Time saved. Extrapolating from the methodology Varian (2011), we assume that using YouTube saves 11 minutes per question, using self-reporting polling data to calibrate the number of questions asked. Time saved is valued at the self-reported polling data of average incomes, and we scale the overall estimate by third party estimates of Internet prevalence and polling information on YouTube usage.
  • Stated preference (Willingness to Accept). As part of our polling, we asked participants a single discrete binary choice question of “Would you prefer to keep access to YouTube or go without access to YouTube for one month and get paid [Price]” with the price offered randomised between E£5, E£10, E£20, E£50, E£100, E£200, E£500, E£1000 and E2000. We linearly regressed the results of this poll to derive a demand curve and used this to calculate total consumer surplus per user. Finally, we scaled this estimate by third party estimates of Internet prevalence and polling information on YouTube usage.

Business Benefits

Google Ads

Following the precedent of past Google impact reports, we use third-party data to estimate the total size of the Egyptian Google Ads market, combining PWC Global Entertainment & Media Outlook data on the total 2019 Egyptian paid search market with other estimates of  Google’s market share.

Following the methodology of the US Google Economic Impact Report, we then scale this revenue by an assumed Return on Investment (ROI) factor of 8, from:

  • Varian (2009) estimates that businesses make on average $2 for every $1 they spend of AdWords.
  • Jansen and Spink (2009) estimate that businesses receive 5 clicks on their search results for every 1 click on their ads.
  • Google estimates that search clicks are about 70% as valuable as ad clicks.
  • Total ROI is then 2 * spend + 70% * 5 * 2 * spend – spend = 8 (spend).

More information on this methodology is available at https://economicimpact.google.com/methodology/  

AdSense

In order to estimate total Egyptian AdSense revenues, we scale Google’s 2018 global Traffic Acquisition Costs to network members by Egypt’s share of global display spending,  derived from PWC Global Entertainment & Media Outlook data. In addition, we also include the estimated returns to advertisers, drawing on the estimated ROI of display advertising from Kireyev et al (2013).

YouTube

In order to estimate total Egyptian revenues to Egyptian creators, we scale PWC Global Entertainment & Media Outlook data on Egyptian video advertising revenue by Google’s 2018 global Traffic Acquisition Costs to network members by Sandvine data on YouTube’s 2017 EMEA share of video bandwidth. We then further scale this by an assumed conservative ROI factor.

Android

We scale App Annie (2019) 2018 data on worldwide app store consumer spend and Android revenue share by Caribou Digital (2016)’s estimate of the Egyptian share of total app store value captured.

AI

We draw on McKinsey Global Institute (2017) estimates of the proportion of automatable jobs in Egypt, and conservatively assume that combined software and hardware costs for automated task converge to 10% of the cost of human labour. Next, we assume that automation takes place over 50 years, following a logistic S-curve, with Egyptian state of adoption proxied by its current lag in internet adoption with the US.

In order to estimate the potential impact on administrative tasks, we draw on polling data on average time spent on administrative work.






  1. Including Google Economic Impact (US, 2019, Google), Google’s Impact in the UK: At Home, At School At Work (UK, 2018, Public First), Google’s Economic Impact (Canada, 2018, Deloitte),Google Economic and Social Impact (New Zealand, 2017, AlphaBeta), Google Economic and Social Impact (Australia, 2015, AlphaBeta) and Google’s Economic Impact: United Kingdom (UK, 2014, Deloitte)
  2. http://www.mcit.gov.eg/Upcont/Documents/Publications_2112014000_Future_of_the_Internet_Economy_.pdf
  3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/484939/internet-user-reach-egypt/
  4. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/30.5685772,32.2693176/New+Cairo+City,+Egypt/@30.2768394,30.699481,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m9!4m8!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x145822cffcd270e7:0x98b73d687889fd8!2m2!1d31.4913182!2d30.007413!3e2
  5. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5857914/
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_Walk, 512 pages, 250 words per page, 300 words read per minute, https://wordcounter.io/blog/how-many-words-per-page/, https://www.forbes.com/sites/brettnelson/2012/06/04/do-you-read-fast-enough-to-be-successful/#10872258462e
  7. https://thinkmarketingmagazine.com/google-map-activates-real-time-traffic-feature-in-egypt-and-jordan/
  8. https://curiosity.com/topics/an-80-year-harvard-study-found-the-greatest-predictor-of-happiness-in-later-life-curiosity/
  9. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20865386?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents https://pdfs.semanticscholar. org/7dab/41504f61a8f85fc83c26e6700aad34a251c5.pdf 2
  10. “Regularly” defined as more than annually
  11. ibid.
  12. https://www.ebrd.com/documents/oce/growing-without-changing.pdf
  13. https://economicimpact.google.com/methodology/
  14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_popular_websites
  15. Using Massive Online Choice Experiments to Measure Changes in Well-Being, Brynjolfsson, Eggers and Gannameni, 2017