Egypt PM: Missing Google Exec. To Be Released Today

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal reported Ghonim has been released.

Wael Ghonim, Google Middle East and North Africa Marketing Director, who has been missing since January 27th, is expected to be released today, following a statement by Egyptian Prime Minister.

"Egypt's state-run Nile TV reported on Sunday that Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq had called the network to announce that Mr. Ghonim would be released on Monday afternoon. Earlier in the day, Naguib Sawiris, a prominent Egyptian businessman who was among several others meeting with Vice President Omar Suleiman over the weekend, said that he had been assured Mr. Ghonim would be released on Monday afternoon," the New York Times reported.

Ghonim has become a big part of the protests in Cairo, with the anti-government group occupying Tahrir Square refusing to leave until he is released, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"Mr. Ghonim is counted among a small group of political activists in Egypt whose social-media savvy over the past year helped spark the massive demonstrations threatening Egypt's ruling regime. "I said one year ago that the Internet will change the political scene in Egypt and some Friends made fun of me :)," Mr. Ghonim wrote on his personal Facebook profile for friends after two days of swelling protests in Cairo. The next day, Jan. 28, he disappeared," the Wall Street Journal stated.

Ghomin had been one of the administrators of the Facebook page that has become the virtual headquarters for the Egyptian protest movement.

"The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights estimates that at least 1,275 people have been detained by police since the protests began. Most have been released, lawyers at the center and other human-rights groups say," the WSJ stated.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.