In a move that has been anticpated for several weeks, Google has finally decided to pull the plug on its Google.cn search operations. Back on January 12, the search engine giant proclaimed that it would no longer censor searches on the site, a law that the Chinese government has refused to back down on since that announcement.
As a result, when one goes to Google.cn, the site redirects to the Google.com.hk Hong Kong domain. The Hong Kong Google search is not subject to Chinese law, and has uncensored search engine results. However, it is possible that the Chinese government will begin blocking the Hong Kong-served site for those who reside within China.
This is also not to say that Google will be completely exiting the Chinese market. According to the statement by Senior Vice President David Drummond, they will continue to have a sales and R&D presence in the mainland; however continuance of those operations will be dependant on access restrictions.
What’s interesting is that Google has even put up a page that lets users know the status of Google’s services in China. If a user is having trouble accessing Picasa, for example, they can go here to get a status update on if the service is being blocked or not:
NOTE: According to the site, it doesn’t appear to be updated today yet. These metrics are not being recorded in real-time. Also, I assume that “Web” means search? Why not put a “Search” line item here?
I wrote last week about a search engine called Goojje that has received some interest by venture capital firms, most likely from Hong Kong. Goojje was anticipating this day, and with a good portion of the market share in search for the Chinese market, it appears that Goojje was developed at just the right time.
It will be intriguing to see how this develops. Stay tuned.