Google says it is still in talks with the Chinese government over censorship of its search engine, despite reports that it is almost certain to leave the market.
However, authorities have warned Google’s major search partners that they should prepare backup plans in case Google stopped censoring its results.
A Google spokesperson told Reuters the company was in “active discussions with the Chinese government” but would not comment further.
The official confirmed that Google was “no longer going to self-censor our search results.”
In the event that Google does lift the heavy government-mandated filtering, Google’s corporate customers have been told to find another search engine, New York Times reported.
Sources told the paper Google was unlikely to lift the censorship and instead would close down its google.cn search engine and try to reach customers with its Chinese language search platform based outside mainland China.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said last week that he expected a result “soon” in the talks, while the Financial Times has reported that Google was 99.9% certain to shut its mainland search engine.