Another Google service facing uncertainty in China

The future of Google Maps in China could be in jeopardy as the search giant reportedly has yet to apply for a license to keep the service running.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Google is facing potential trouble with the Chinese government over yet another one of its services.

The future of Google Maps, the company's online mapping service, may be in jeopardy as the company reportedly has yet to file the required application with the Chinese government to keep the service running, and the deadline is tomorrow.

China's State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping confirmed that it has not received an application from Google for a license for Google Maps, according to Bloomberg and other sources. If tomorrow's deadline passes, and a license application still has not been received, the bureau said that the service would face "administrative actions" by July 1.

Google has not responded to a request for comment. Bloomberg, however, had the following statement from the company: "We are examining the regulations to understand their impact on our maps products in China."

China's potential actions against Google Maps are part of the country's overall effort to crack down on "illegal" online mapping services in light of their ability to reveal "sensitive and confidential" information, according to China's state-run news agency Xinhua. Such a crackdown would extend to unapproved online mapping sites, potentially leading to their shutdown.

China announced last spring that it would start requiring licenses for online mapping services, already putting the future of Google Maps in question. As of the middle of February, China has given licenses to 105 Web sites that provide online mapping in the country, including Baidu, Sina, Nokia, and China Mobile, Xinhua said.

Always tenuous, Google's relationship with China took another bad turn last week when the search giant accused Beijing of interfering with the operations of Gmail. The company also just suffered a blow to its overall market in China as Sina, the country's biggest Internet portal, said yesterday that it has replaced Google's search engine on its various Web sites with its own, according to AFP.