The world’s largest search engine and the world’s most populous country traded barbs and threats this spring when Google said it might leave the country over the Chinese government’s Internet censorship. That fight cooled to a simmer over the last few months. Today, Google announced on its official blog that China has renewed its content provider license, further defusing the tension between the two.
Google has been waiting to hear back from Chinese authorities about its ICP license since the company filed for its renewal last week. The company’s license must be reviewed annually. Its renewal will allow the search giant to continue operating its China-based site, Google.cn. If Google had been unable to renew its license, it could have meant the end of the company’s operations in China [PC World].
To reach this uneasy truce with China, Google had to back down from the principled anti-censorship stand it took in March, when it began automatically redirecting Google.cn users to the company’s unfiltered Hong Kong-based site. Now, if you visit Google.cn, you should see a link to the Hong Kong site, but visitors won’t be automatically redirected.
“Basically, this was a smart move on the part of the Chinese government to kind of defuse the situation so that the Google search engine will still be available in China,” said Paul Denlinger, an Internet consultant for startups. He said that the friction between Google and China won’t disappear but will temporarily dissipate [AP].
Google is presently the second most popular search engine in the country, behind Chinese competitor Baidu.
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