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Google keeps files from China

Search giant Google is storing the search records for its recently launched Chinese site outside the country in an effort to keep the Chinese government from demanding the files.

"We didn’t want to be in the position of having to hand over these kinds of records to the government," said Peter Norvig, Google’s director of research, at a panel discussion at Santa Clara University in California on Monday, according to IDG News Service.

The company debuted the Chinese search engine in January, but received heavy criticism for agreeing to censor search results, and leave out features such as Chinese versions of its Blogger and Blogspot blog services and Gmail email system (see Google Bows to China’s Censors).

The Mountain View, California-based company had to appear before Congress recently to defend its practices in China, along with Yahoo, Microsoft, and Cisco Systems (see Net Showdown in Washington).

Shares of Google fell $0.63 to $364.17 in recent trading.

Google stores information on the IP addresses of users who have made search queries, and that information could be used to trace the identities of Internet users.

Hot Water in Search

Google has also been in hot water with the U.S. Department of Justice for declining to hand over its search records. The DOJ wants to examine search records in an effort to revive the Child Online Protection Act, which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court because of privacy concerns.

America Online, Microsoft’s MSN, and Yahoo have cooperated with the DOJ (see DOJ: Google Shouldn’t Worry).

Chinese Internet users face many barriers in their Internet activities, including blocked sites, search terms, and efforts by authorities to shut down online discussions of controversial topics.

At the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York City on Tuesday, Adam Hertz, vice president of engineering at the blog search service Technorati, noted that Chinese Internet users are trying to get around such restrictions by agreeing among themselves to share tags to avoid being personally identified.

"They would write on one subject and then pass the tag to other users," he said.

A Google representative who was on the same panel at the Search Engine Strategies conference, Vinod Marur, said the search engine does not currently offer blog search capabilities in China. "When we launched blog search, we did not launch it in China," he said. But he added that the company is still weighing the possibility.

Google also faces an analyst meeting on Thursday in Mountain View where it will be discussing the admission by CFO George Reyes that the company’s growth is slowing in the search market (see Google Warns of Slower Growth). Google is looking to other areas for greater growth.

Date posted: March 2, 2006 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 14