Feeds

Google redirects China to uncensored Hong Kong servers

Warns Chinese may block 'entirely legal' move

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Google has shut down its Chinese search engine, Google.cn, and is now redirecting site visitors to its Hong Kong-based engine, Google.com.hk, where it will provide uncensored search results in simplified Chinese designed specifically for users in mainland China.

The move comes just over two months after the company said it had decided to stop censoring search results in China due in part to an alleged Chinese cyber attack that pilfered unspecified intellectual property from its internal systems. According to Google, a primary goal of the attackers was to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, and since exposing the attacks - which also targeted as many as 33 others companies - the web giant has been in discussions with various Chinese government agencies over the matter.

"Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on Google.cn has been hard," Google chief legal officer David Drummond said Monday in a blog post.

"We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement. We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we've faced—it's entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China."

But Drummond went on to say that although Google believes its new setup is "entirely legal," the company is aware that the Chinese government could block access to its Hong Kong-based services. With this in mind, the company has set up a website here designed to show which Google services are currently available in China and which are not. Drummond says the page will be updated "regularly" each day.

China already blocks access to YouTube, Google's video sharing site.

Google is redirecting Chinese users to Hong Kong-based versions of Google Search, Google News, and Google Images. And as it takes the load from China, Google.com.hk will continue to serve Hong Kong-based users as well. The company warns that the increased load from China may cause a slowdown in services or cause them to become completely unavailable at times.

Despite its earlier indications that it may exit China entirely, Drummond said that Google has chosen to stay. It intends to continue its R&D work in the country and maintain its sales operation, though Google says the future of its Chinese sales staff will depend on continued access to Google.com.hk.

Google first set up shop in China in 2006, but it has struggled to compete with the native search engine Baidu. Google.cn has a 33 per cent market share , next to Baidu's 63 per cent. Though Google has risked being blocked entirely in the country, this wouldn't be a huge blow to its revenues - at least not in the short term. Estimates put the company's Chinese revenues as one to two per cent of its total income. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.