Days after Google started redirecting Chinese searchers from Google.cn to Google.hk so that it would no longer be required to censor its own search results, one of its top mobile partners has decided to drop Google search from its Android-based handsets. BBC News reported Thursday:
China Unicom is to stop using Google search on Android handsets. The second biggest operator in China is believed to be taking the step in reaction to Google's decision to stop offering a censored search service.
Evidentally, Motorola has already decided strip Google's search engine from its Zhishang device that was shipped to China.
At the same time, Google says it will pull back from offering even uncensored search in China, starting with online firms and mobile phone makers and providers. A spokesperson in Singapore said:
Over time, we will not be syndicating censored search to partners in China. But we will of course fulfill our existing contractual obligations.
Observers say the changes in the mobile market will hurt Google more than pulling away from the Internet, simply because of the large numbers of Chinese who use mobile phones.