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Google Launches ‘Gu Ge’ in China

Internet search giant Google has enthusiastically taken the wraps off its new Chinese venture "Gu Ge," a Chinese rebranding of Google’s services. The name is Chinese for "Valley Song;" the company said it picked the name to draw on Chinese tradition and allude to a rewarding experience.

At a press conference in China to announce Gu Ge, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said his company is taking the correct course to comply with Chinese censorship and information disclosure requirement, despite criticisms that, in doing so, Google is effectively supporting a dictatorial, repressive government. Schmidt said "the decision that we made to follow the law in China was absolutely the right one," adding that it would be more damaging to civil liberty and the exchange of ideas if Google were to withdraw from China entirely. "I think it’s arrogant for us to walk into a country where we are just beginning to operate and tell that country how to operate."

Google has offered a Chinese language version of its search service for years, but Gu Ge marks a new, explicitly Chinese brand for Google. Google will employ an estimated 150 people in China by the end of 2006, and Schmidt predicted strong growth for Google in China, expecting to eventually employ thousands of software engineers to support google’s efforts in the country.

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