Google Launches Search for Missing Executive

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) on Tuesday began a public search for an executive missing in Cairo, where the Internet company has offered tools to help Egyptians communicate amid chaotic protests.

Google, which launched a way for Twitter users to communicate without Internet access, said on Tuesday that Wael Ghonim, head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, has not been seen since late Thursday in central Cairo.

"The safety of our employees is very important to Google, so if anyone has any information please call the following UK number: +44 20 7031 3008," Google said in a statement.

At least 140 people have died since demonstrations against the 30-year rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began last Tuesday, most in clashes between protesters and police.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters Ghonim is based in Dubai and was in Cairo for "personal reasons."

Twitter messages last week from an account with the user name Wael Ghonim criticized the Egyptian government and showed solidarity with protesters rallying against Mubarak.

"Sleeping on the streets of Cairo, trying to feel the pain of millions of my fellow Egyptians," read a Jan. 25 tweet.

"The Egyptian government started to take really stupid actions that will result in nothing but encouraging more people to protest," read another on Jan. 26.