Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

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

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

A Chinese version of Google Maps was accessible on Tuesday on mobile and desktop browsers with certain functions available, but Reuters was unable to find a Google Maps app available in Chinese app stores.

Alphabet Inc's Google is relaunching its map service after being tightly limited in China after eight years, according to Nikkei.

The very public fallout between the Chinese government and Google, back in 2010, marked the search engine's exit from the Chinese market.

Google has denied bringing back its mapping service to China, following a report on Tuesday that the U.S. internet search giant is making it available again in the world's second-largest economy. However, when users launch the app and attempt to use its navigation features, they are automatically transferred to an app from AutoNavi, a mapping company owned by Alibaba.

According to Nikkei, Google was planning to release a modified version of Google Maps for iPhones in China. But Beijing is also eager to develop artificial intelligence technologies, which Google has in abundance, for applications such as self-driving vehicles.

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No doubt it's a major return of Google to China. That's something Google has been working toward for years.

Google recently led a US$120 million series D investment in Chushou, an online e-sports platform that lets users live-stream their mobile games.

Other companies such as Apple and Amazon have to comply with cyber security law such as by handing over data-center operations to Chinese companies.

But others remain resistant. But there are concerns with meeting China's demands on data management and self-censorship as it would damage the reputation of the company in the USA and Europe.

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