In part of its ongoing retreat from Mainland China, Google has closed down its Translate service in the country.
The search giant now has few services available there, having pulled its market-dominating search engine from the country in 2010 following concerns over censorship. Other services, such as Gmail and Google Maps, have also been restricted by the Chinese Government.
Google cited "low usage" as the reason for the decision. The page now displays Google's search bar and a link to the Hong Kong version of the search engine.
In 2019, Google explored the prospect of re-entering the Chinese market with a version of its search engine, which complied with the government's policies on censorship however, this was dropped following a backlash.
The online translation space in China is dominated by local companies like Baidu and Sogou. Sogou provides voice translation from Chinese to English with a claimed accuracy rating of 95%. Baidu's translate function supports 200 languages, the most of any online translation service.
Given the restriction on Google's own products and the pre-eminence of China's own search engines, it's a small wonder that the US tech giant has taken this step from a purely business standpoint.
While understandable from a purely corporate standpoint, it is grim news for those in China seeking unbiased and uncensored access to the world outside their borders.
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