More information is leaking out about just how Google is planning to re-enter the Chinese market with a mobile search engine application that complies to the country’s censorship laws.
The Intercept first broke this story when a whistleblower provided them documentation detailing the secret censored search project (codenamed Dragonfly). According to them, an overlooked Google acquisition from 2008 — 265.com — has been quietly laying down the foundation for the endeavor.
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Back in June of 2008, Google acquired the Chinese website 265.com, which Chinese internet entrepreneur Cai Wensheng, known as “King of the Webmasters,” founded in 2003. Cai is the current chairman and founder of the company behind the popular selfie app Meitu. As an early domain name investor, Cai “found it frustrating to have to type domain names in English,” according to a 2010 Wall Street Journal profile. So he set up what amounts to an early-internet web directory, or daohang — which roughly translates to navigation — as they’re known in China. His internet portal, 265.com, which provided Chinese internet users with a list of popular website links right on its homepage, was an instant success. Read more…
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