Google working on 'government-friendly' news app in China: Report

After reports surfaced that Google is planning a censored Search engine for China, more reports claimed on Thursday that the tech giant is also developing a "government-friendly news app for the country".

According to The Information, Google is developing a news-aggregation app for use in China that will comply with the country's censorship laws.

"Google has been working on the app since last year and had been meeting with Chinese regulators to discuss the project," said the report, citing sources. 

"It is also preparing a mobile app for Internet search in China that will comply with local censorship laws, an effort first reported by The Intercept," the report added.

The state-owned China Securities Daily, however, refuted the report on Google's Search engine for China.

According to South China Morning Post (SCMP), China is home to 772 million Internet users -- the biggest online community in the world.

China has also seen increased affluence among its consumers, which are quick to embrace innovative new technologies and services.

"That has also allowed Internet companies led by Baidu, Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings to expand beyond their initial businesses, building vast online platforms that offer a range of products and services to their users. The trio now commands a combined market valuation exceeding US$1 trillion," reported SCMP.
Tech Crunch reported that Google is essentially cloning Toutiao, a popular app in China. 

"Like Toutiao, the app would apparently use AI and algorithms to serve stories to readers - as opposed to real-life human editors - while it too would be designed to work within the bounds of Chinese internet censorship," claimed the report.

Google, which has hundreds of people working in China, recently launched its Artificial Intelligence (AI) lab in the country.

Facebook has set up a subsidiary in China to build an "innovation hub" focused on helping local developers and entrepreneurs to innovate and grow.

Facebook's application for the China subsidiary in the Zhejiang province was approved on July 18, CNBC reported.

"We are interested in setting up an innovation hub in Zhejiang to support Chinese developers, innovators and start-ups," a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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Source: IANS