Google announces changes to operations in China

Today, Google has essentially backed down from its previous attempts to move away from censorship in China. The search giant has made significant changes to the Google China landing page in a desperate attempt to be able to continue to operate its Chinese business, according to Ars Technica.

In March, Google changed the Chinese search engine to stop serving censored results, and instead redirect requests to Google's services based in Hong Kong - where the Chinese government's censorship does not reach. The Google Blog says that the government found this move "unacceptable" and "that if we continue redirecting users our Internet Content Provider license will not be renewed (it’s up for renewal on June 30)."

Google says that without the ICP license, it can't operate a commercial website in china and that would "go dark". Ars points out that if this happened, would no longer offer searches or redirects, leaving users confused about where to go. David Drummond, Google's chief Legal Officer said that it's "a prospect dreaded by many of our Chinese users, who have been vocal about their desire to keep alive."

The new approach isn't a huge change, but Google is hoping that it is a change the government will approve of. If you visit now, you'll be presented with what looks like a search box, as seen above. It is, in facet, just an image, and when clicked, it redirects you to Google's Hong Kong services again.

Google believes this is an adequate fix, and has resubmitted its application for the ICP license.

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