At Google I/O last week in San Francisco when Vic Gundotra recognized one of the “extension” sites in Cairo Egypt there was a small chant of “Wael” coming from the back of the keynote hall. That chant was in recognition of Google’s South Africa and Middle Eastern Marketing Manager Wael Ghonim.
Ghonim went missing the last week of January during riots which eventually led to the resignation of Hosni Mubarak. Ghonim is believed to have been behind a Facebook account which brought young professionals and young adults across Egypt to Cairo to protest.
More after the break
Ghonim’s web related efforts eventually sparked a government shutdown of the internet by the Egyptian government on January 26th. Ghonim was eventually released from his capture on February 7th.
After his release Ghonim coined the phrase “Revolution 2.0”, publishing house Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has given Ghonim a publishing deal for a book with the same phrase as the title.
During the Big Tent Event conference Schmidt took a minute to say “I wanted to interrupt at the end and say to Wael that you are our hero of Google and we are very proud of you. Thank you. I’m not sure I could have done it.