Google currently automatically redirect everyone using Google.cn to Google.com.hk, our Hong Kong search engine. This redirect, which offers unfiltered search in simplified Chinese, has been working well for our users and for Google. However, it’s clear from conversations Google have had with Chinese government officials that they find the redirect unacceptable—and that if it continue redirecting users its Internet Content Provider license will not be renewed (it’s up for renewal on June 30). Without an ICP license, it can’t operate a commercial website like Google.cn—so Google would effectively go dark in China.
That’s a prospect dreaded by many of its Chinese users, who have been vocal about their desire to keep Google.cn alive. They have therefore been looking at possible alternatives, and instead of automatically redirecting all our users, They have started taking a small percentage of them to a landing page on Google.cn that links to Google.com.hk—where users can conduct web search or continue to use Google.cn services like music and text translate, which can provide locally without filtering. This approach ensures they stay true to our commitment not to censor our results on Google.cn and gives users access to all of our services from one page.
Over the next few days they’ll end the redirect entirely, taking all Chinese users to new landing page—and today they re-submitted ICP license renewal application based on this approach.