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Google plans a return to China with its censored app store

google play, google in china, chinese market

The Information reported on Friday that Google is close to returning to mainland China as a provider of consumer Web services. Specifically, Google hopes to launch a version of its Play store for mobile apps as early as this fall.

据消息报道,谷歌很可能作为消费者网络服务提供商重返中国大陆市场。明确说来,谷歌希望最早于今年秋天推出定制版Google Play应用商店。

The story, which is rich with details, said that "Google has extensive plans for how it will architect and run the store locally and has partnerships in place with specific Chinese companies to do so." The article also delved into Google's plans to extend the Android Wear operating system for mobile devices in China.

这份内容详实的报道称"谷歌在就如何构建和运营本地化商店方面做了大量计划,并已谈妥与具体中国公司的合作。"报道还深挖了谷歌公司关于在中国市场面向移动设备推广Android Wear操作系统的计划。

Google has always had a love-hate relationship with China, which forced it to censor search results. In 2010, Google famously pulled its search engine out of the country, after it was a victim of a cyberattack it said came from the Chinese government.


But Google's desire to return to China in some capacity has not been a secret. In February, Sundar Pichai, who is poised to become CEO of Google following a restructuring of the company, made that desire explicit in an interview.


"China is obviously one of the biggest markets out there," Pichai told Forbes. "Android is powering a lot of innovation in China. That's important to me. It would be a privilege to serve Chinese users. We obviously have had a set of issues in the past, but we also see opportunities. We have seen a lot of interest from Chinese developers on Google Play, because the extent to which Android is used. We see those as opportunities ahead. If we can figure out a model by which we can serve those users, it would be a privilege to do so. So I don't think of China as a black hole. I see it as a huge opportunity in which we are playing as an enabling platform today and hopefully we have a chance to offer other services in the future."

"中国显然是全球最大的市场之一,"皮查伊对福布斯说,"安卓正在为中国市场上的许多创新提供助力。这在我看来非常重要。为中国用户提供服务是一种荣幸。过去我们显然有过一系列问题,但我们也看到了机遇。我们看到中国开发者对Google Play抱有很大的兴趣,因为安卓系统被广泛使用。我们将这些视为前方面临的机遇。如果我们能够找到一种模式,从而服务那些用户,我们将很高兴那样做。因此我不认为中国是一个黑洞。我将其看作一个巨大的机会,我们如今正在其中扮演一个支持平台,希望有机会在未来提供其他服务。"

Clearly, the company has been busy working on its return to China since then. But the exact timing of the arrival of any Play store in China is anyone's guess, according to people with knowledge of Google's plans. The matter is ultimately in the hands of Chinese officials, who have had a fraught relationship with Google. Back in February, Pichai told FORBES that timing of a return was "obviously not" in Google's control. That hasn't changed.

显然,自那时起,谷歌一直忙于重返中国市场事宜。但据了解谷歌计划的人士称,定制版Google Play登陆中国市场的确切时间仍无人知晓。这件事最终要看中国政府,中国政府与谷歌的关系紧张。去年2月,皮查伊在接受福布斯采访时说,重返中国市场的时间"显然不由"谷歌掌控。这一点没有改变。

Google is expecting that any return to China will come with criticism for backtracking on or at least softening its stance on censorship. Its Play store there, if and when it opens, will likely not include news or other apps that the Chinese government objects to. But people inside the company see an app store like Play as fundamentally different from Google's search service, which is about providing access to information. App stores are already curated and selective in what they include, and Googlers will more easily stomach restrictions on what apps the company can offer.

谷歌预计,任何形式的重返中国市场都将因放弃或者至少软化了在审查问题上的立场而招致批评。如若能在中国市场推出Google Play,届时这一定制版本很可能将不包含中国政府所反对的新闻或应用程序。但在谷歌内部人士看来,Google Play这样的应用商店与提供信息获取渠道的谷歌搜索服务有着根本不同。应用商店的内容本身就经过了管理和拣选,谷歌上下更容易容忍对哪些应用可以提供什么内容所施加的限制。

Even after the departure of its search engine from mainland China, Google has retained a presence there. The company still has engineering teams there, and its local sales force helps Chinese companies advertise on Google's services globally. The company is also helping to monetize mobile apps through its mobile advertising products.



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