Google (GOOG) has begun incorporating real-time Twitter results into its new Hong Kong-based search engine in a move sure to inflame already bitter tensions between the search giant and China. The move effectively lifts a nearly year-long Chinese blockade of the popular micro-blogging service, according to The Los Angeles Times, which first noticed the real-time results.
Google's move is the latest development in an acrimonious battle between the company and China that has raged since the search giant threatened to stop censoring its China-based service over two months ago. On Monday, Google made good on its threat, prompting a furious rebuke from the Chinese government.
The real-time Twitter feed shows up on some searches on Google's Hong Kong search engine, google.com.hk, where mainland China users were redirected after Google closed its China-based site Monday.
"The tweets do not show up for all searches, but only for terms that appear to be popular on Twitter," the paper reported. "On Thursday morning, that included discussions on such taboo subjects as how to circumvent China's Internet firewall, why Google decided to exit China and a vaccine scandal unfolding in central China." See an example of Google.com.hk incorporating real-time Twitter search here.
"We started rolling out real time search on google.com.hk earlier this month and it has been fully available for more than a week," a Google spokesperson said in an email to DailyFinance. "We are constantly releasing new features to international domains as the funcionality becomes available and this feature is completely unrelated to the redirection of traffic from google.cn to google.com.hk."
Chinese News Minders Crack Down on News About Google
Meanwhile, Rebecca MacKinnon, an expert on the Internet and China has pointed to new "orders from the State Council Information Office to news organizations and websites," translated in the China Digital Times.
All chief editors and managers:
Google has officially announced its withdrawal from the China market. This is a high-impact incident. It has triggered netizens' discussions which are not limited to a commercial level. Therefore please pay strict attention to the following content requirements during this period:
A. News Section
1. Only use Central Government main media (website) content; do not use content from other sources
2. Reposting must not change title
3. News recommendations should refer to Central government main media websites
4. Do not produce relevant topic pages; do not set discussion sessions; do not conduct related investigative reporting;
5. Online programs with experts and scholars on this matter must apply for permission ahead of time. This type of self-initiated program production is strictly forbidden.
6. Carefully manage the commentary posts under news items.
B. Forums, blogs and other interactive media sections:
1. It is not permitted to hold discussions or investigations on the Google topic
2. Interactive sections do not recommend this topic, do not place this topic and related comments at the top
3. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which attack the Party, State, government agencies, Internet policies with the excuse of this event.
4. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which support Google, dedicate flowers to Google, ask Google to stay, cheer for Google and others have a different tune from government policy
5. On topics related to Google, carefully manage the information in exchanges, comments and other interactive sessions
6. Chief managers in different regions please assign specific manpower to monitor Google-related information; if there is information about mass incidents, please report it in a timely manner.
We ask the Monitoring and Control Group to immediately follow up monitoring and control actions along the above directions; once any problems are discovered, please communicate with respected sessions in a timely manner.
Also, China Digital Times has the following additional directives:
• Do not participate in and report Google's information/press releases.
• Do not report about Google exerting pressure on our country via people or events.
• Related reports need to put [our story/perspective/information] in the center, do not provide materials for Google to attack relavent policies of our country.
• Use talking points about Google withdrawing from China published by relevant department.