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Thursday, April 13, 2006
Google Launches New Service in China and Online Calendar

Google launched on Wednesday the Chinese version of its search engine and unveiled a free online calendar service.

The Chinese search engine is named "Gu Ge"("valley song") and the Internet giant defended its decision to limit user access to certain internet sites in China. The search engine firm has offered a Chinese language service for a number of years, but "Gu Ge" is a new venture.

Chief executive Eric Schmidt said that sales growth "will obviously be large" and Google expects to have thousands of software engineers working in China.

He also said that Google had no choice but to accept restrictions if it wanted access to China's internet market. Google was criticised earlier this year when it agreed to adhere to Chinese government censorship rules in order to launch its new site.

"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," Mr Schmidt said.

Google also unveiled plans to create a research centre in Beijing that should employ 150 workers by the middle of this year.

Online Calendar

Google's new calendar is included in to Google's e-mail service, Gmail, automatically offering to add the date information in a message to the calendar.

The calendar is Google's latest effort to offer all-purpose web services and is the search company's latest weapon against rivals such as Yahoo and Microsoft.

Yahoo has offered a calendar service since 1998 and is currently the most popular web calendar service in the U.S. In October,l the company acquired the event planning site, Upcoming.org. In response to Google's announcement, Yahoo said it would release updates to its calendar service in coming months.

Voice Search Engine

Furthermore, the United States Patent and Trademark Office approved Google's patent application for a voice assisted search engine.

Patent titled "Voice interface for a search engine" outlines how Google wants to improve voice recognition specifically for providing a the search results a user may be looking for.

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