Google Denies It's Launching Optimized Google Maps for China

Google brings map service back to China

Google brings map service back to China

Chinese netizens hailed the revival of Google Maps on Monday as the American company's great return to China, where its trademark search and other services have been unavailable since 2010.

Nikkei reported today that the China-specific version of Google Maps is now available as a website and as an app for Chinese iPhones. The search giant allegedly launched a China-specific version of Google Maps for web and iOS.

Google doesn't have the mandatory data to do this all on its own because of its absence in China for eight years.

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Original article (1/15/18): Google is making a major return to China, as a version of its Google Maps service is now available for users in that country. The timing of the increasing availability of Google's services and its presence suggests a shift in policy in China. But Google Maps has wider appeal, and remains one of the most-downloaded applications in the company's portfolio. There is also an app for Apple devices distributed via the App Store. It looks like the original source may have gotten some wires crossed because Google is releasing a statement to deny that it has launched a new version of Maps for China. The Chinese government also imposes strict rules on the collection and use of map data. There are hundreds of millions of potential customers in China, but Google has had a limited presence for years. Google is of course an expert when it comes to AI tech and so rumors are that the Chinese government has temporarily shelved any discussions on search and other thorny issues and will instead focus on AI development.

"With e-sports becoming a high-potential industry in China, Google sees an opportunity" to enter a market segment that is less politically sensitive, said IDC China managing director Kitty Fok.

The American company announced in December that it would open the Google AI China Center for research into artificial intelligence.

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