Google brings map service back to China

Zhang Yong CEO of Alibaba introduces its artificial intelligence ET Brain at conference 2017

Google brings map service back to China

Google announced that they were opening a Google AI China Center that will be used for research, despite not having a presence there service-wise since 2010.

"Maps has been accessible on desktop for years, but does not have an official presence in Android or iOS app stores in China", said Google Spokesman Taj Meadows.

After a gap of eight years, Google Maps is now available for Chinese internet users. In fact, if you try to use Google's navigation features, it directs you to the AutoNavi app. However, it is a step in the right direction, and we can hopefully see a fully functional version of Google Maps in China within the next year or so. However, other major services of Google's company are still not available in China, such as Google Search and YouTube.

"Although Google doesn't run its key search business directly in China, it still ... has an interest in the Chinese market", said Wang Xiaofeng, a senior analyst at market research firm Forrester. Most people will access it via a web page, but iPhones get an app.

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In February previous year, media reported that Google was in talks with NetEase, China's second-largest operator of online games, to form a venture to launch Google's app store in China.

It's no secret that China is tremendously strict when it comes to third-party companies, especially ones from America such as Facebook and Google, entering its shore. Partnering with Beijing would also make it easier to collect large amounts of data by holding large-scale trials for technologies such as automated driving under the government's auspices.

Google also led a significant investment in Chushou, a video streaming platform where users can live-stream games played on their mobile phones.

Nikkei notes the China seems interested in developing AI. At least that's something to be happy about as it is a tentative move that shows Google is willing to work around the restrictions imposed by the Chinese government.

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