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Google talking with China to keep Google Maps afloat

The search giant is speaking with Chinese government officials about continuing to offer its Google Maps service in the country.

Google is apparently striving to keep Google Maps up and running in China in the face of rules that require a license for the service.

The company has already reportedly missed the deadline to apply for the license, at least according to a Chinese media report (English translation). But Google has confirmed to The Next Web that discussions are ongoing.

And the search giant already applied for its initial license for Google Maps last June, so there seems to be confusion over today's deadline, which TNW said is for companies to send their initial requests to China's State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping. The company also was granted a license in September to run several Web services in China, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

A Google spokeswoman simply told CNET that the company is "in discussions with the government about how we could offer a maps product in China."

The company is currently facing competition in China from rival search provider Baidu, which offers its own mapping service. Google also has had a rocky history with China, moving its core search engine to Hong Kong after refusing to censor results as required by the Chinese government.

Updated 11:30 a.m. PT with statement from Google.