Google's Wael Ghonim still missing in Egypt; company asks for help [Updated]
The search is on for Google executive Wael Ghonim, who has gone radio silent in Cairo amid the mass protests in Egypt and the government crackdown on the Internet.
Concern is growing at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. The company on Tuesday put out the following statement about Ghonim, a prominent technology entrepreneur and Google marketing executive trying to help his country create jobs and a brighter future for youth.
"A Googler, Wael Ghonim, is missing in Egypt. He has not been seen since late Thursday evening in central Cairo. The safety of our employees is very important to Google, so if anyone has any information please call the following U.K. number: 44 20 7031 3008."
On Jan. 27, Ghonim sent out a message to his followers on Twitter: "Pray for #Egypt. Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We are all ready to die #Jan25."
A native of Cairo, Ghonim is based in the United Arab Emirates but was in Egypt for a conference when the protests began.
[Updated 2:05 pm: Friends fear he may have been arrested during the demonstrations. Alarm bells rang on Twitter when a news report from Sky News surfaced appearing to show Ghonim being seized by police. But there is growing consensus that it is not Ghonim in the video.
A friend, Habib Haddad, told CNN that Ghonim was in touch with his wife and brother on Friday before disappearing over the weekend. Haddad said his concerns for his friend were growing bigger "by the day."
"He would do whatever he could to reach out, and he wouldn't put himself in a stupid situation," Haddad said.]
In the meantime, Twitter users are teaming up to track down people reported as missing by family and friends.
A Twitter user in Beirut, Samer Karam, and another in Canada, Tamer Salama, created a Google Docs spreadsheet to list missing people and update the world as they are found. Hundreds of people have gone missing during the protests, but few as high profile as Ghonim.
-- Jessica Guynn