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Google Helps Syrians Call in Their Tweets by Phone

Yesterday, Syrians lost all access to the internet. Renesys on Thursday confirmed that all of Syria's 84 IP address blocks are unreachable. The company's trace-routes identified five networks that use Syrian-registered IP space and host Syrian content, but these traces lead Tata Communications and offshore destinations. "[These networks] perhaps [are] not subject to whatever killswitch was thrown today within Syria," Renesys wrote in a blog post.

Though the Syrian Minister of Information has apparently said the government has nothing to do with the internet blackout (he has been reported as saying terrorists "targeted the internet lines"), the web is down for everyone and the blackout is now into its second day. In an effort to open up the channels of communication for Syrians, Google is bringing back the tweet-by-phone service it introduced when Egypt's internet was switched off last year.

"A little less than two years ago, when Internet access was cut off in Egypt, we worked with Twitter to launch Speak2Tweet, giving the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection," the company said via Google+ today.

"In the last day, internet access has been completely cut off in Syria. Unfortunately we are hearing reports that mobile phones and landlines aren’t working properly either. But those who might be lucky enough to have a voice connection can still use Speak2Tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+90 212 339 1447 or +30 21 1 198 2716 or +39 06 62207294 or +1 650 419 4196), and the service will tweet the message."

Google explained back in 2011 that the service is the result of a collaboration between engineers at Twitter as well as SayNow, a company Google acquired in January of 2011. Folks that want to listen to the messages can phone the same numbers or hit up to hear the voicemails being left via the service.

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