Google's "older sister" in China urges it to stay

Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:19am EST
 
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BEIJING (Reuters) - A Google knock-off has surfaced in China to compete with the world's largest search engine, while at the same time pleading with it to stay in the country despite censorship and hacking allegations.

Adding to China's reputation for copies of items such as designer clothes, coffee chains and DVDs, "Goojje" began vying with Google on January 14, the Henan Business Daily reported.

Google Inc had said two days earlier that it may close its Chinese Google.cn portal and pull out of China.

The name chosen by the newcomer is a play on words. The final syllable "jje" sounds like the Chinese word "older sister," while the "gle" syllable of "Google" is pronounced like the Chinese word for "older brother."

Goojje (www.goojje.com) has a search engine and provides social networking services. Its home page bears a Google-styled logo that combines hallmarks from the "older brother" and China's top home-grown search engine, Baidu Inc.

"Sister was very happy when brother gave up the thought of leaving and stayed for sister," the website says, in an apparent call for Google to stay in China.

Google was not immediately available for comment about the Goojje site.

Earlier this month, U.S.-based Google complained of censorship and a sophisticated hacking attack from within the country.

Keyword search results in Goojje give slightly different results than Google or Baidu but appear to be similarly filtered to avoid content China deems sensitive.

The Henan Business Daily said Goojje was founded by a female college student in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. Contacted by Reuters, Goojje's web host declined to give details on the site's owner.

(Reporting by Yu Le and Ralph Jennings; Editing by Alex Richardson)