One of the final services Google still offers to the economic giant, Translate, has been discontinued in mainland China.
The Hong Kong version of Google Translate, which is unavailable on the Chinese mainland, is now the default destination for users of the service’s website. For the change, Google claimed minimal use.
According to a spokeswoman for the Alphabet-owned corporation, “We have ceased Google Translate in mainland China owing to low usage,” adding that the mobile app was shut down last year.
Since pulling its search engine from China in 2010 due to severe government internet control, Google and the Chinese government have had a tense relationship. Later, China barred access to additional Google services including Gmail and Google Maps.
Google reportedly worked on a censored version of its search engine for China in an effort to re-enter the market, but the company said in 2018 that it had abandoned those plans in response to employee backlash, which claimed that continuing the work would make Google complicit in China’s oppression.
As tensions between China and the US increase over Chinese firms acquiring access to technology that allow high-performance computing, such as artificial intelligence and semiconductors, IT companies are finding themselves more and more in the midst of the conflict.
The US government asked Nvidia, a US chip manufacturer, to limit sales of two AI acceleration chips to China in August. These chips allow AI developers to accelerate their research and create more complex AI models.