Google battles to save Chinese maps
Google’s Chinese mapping service is under threat, as the country begins enforcing new rules covering online mapping and navigation services.
The search-giant will have to prove its maps are correctly labeled and can’t be altered by users to gain an operating license from China’s State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, which has just begun enforcing the updated rules that were unveiled last month.
A key element of Google’s mapping service is the ability for users to post notes, which makes it harder for the firm to implement the new rules, WSJ.com reports.
Google’s Chinese mapping service isn’t its biggest earner in the country, but is one of fastest growing business segments, WSJ.com notes.
Officials confirmed to the newspaper that Google has applied for a license, but wouldn’t say what the status of that application was.
The application is the first real test of the mood of the Chinese government towards Google, after its well-publicized decision to offer uncensored search results via its Hong Kong servers, and subsequent exit of the mainland in March.
Earlier this week, the Chinese government defended its policy of censoring the web claiming that state security could be affected by allowing access to sites including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.