Google Maps has gingerly returned to China after an eight year absence

17 January, 2018, 03:02 | Author: Shannon Newton
  • Google Maps now finally back in China after 8 years
     
     
       By Ida Torres

A full Google Maps app has not been available in China since the company pulled many of its services in 2010 after refusing to self-censor its search results.

"Although Google doesn't run its key search business directly in China, it still ... has an interest in the Chinese market", said Wang Xiaofeng, a senior analyst at market research firm Forrester.

Google's China domain, Google.cn, redirects traffic to its Hong Kong site, Google.com.hk. It looks like the original source may have gotten some wires crossed because Google is releasing a statement to deny that it has launched a new version of Maps for China.

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Original article (1/15/18): Google is making a major return to China, as a version of its Google Maps service is now available for users in that country.

In December a year ago, parent Alphabet said it had opened a Google AI China Centre in Beijing, as it seeks to harness China's growing artificial intelligence talent pool.

The article speculates that this change in Google's strategy in China is part of a desire by both the company and the Chinese government to work together on AI-based services.

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To rationalize that Google widening its presence in the country will lead to re-enabling its search engine, there is quite a stretch, as the company still has many hurdles to go through to get to that point. About 90 million users have signed up for it so far. The company is expected to launch basic research there soon, and could eventually expand into automated driving research as well.

"With e-sports becoming a high-potential industry in China, Google sees an opportunity" to enter a market segment that is less politically sensitive, said IDC China managing director Kitty Fok.

But others remain resistant. But Facebook is concerned that meeting China's demands on data management and self-censorship would jeopardize the company's reputation in the US and Europe, and the standoff continues.

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