Yesterday, as rumors swirled in the Chinese media that Google Maps had missed an important filing deadline and might be forced to shut down in China, we reported that such a shutdown was unlikely. Later in the afternoon, China’s Bureau of Mapping and Surveying confirmed that it was all just a rumor. That filing deadline Google supposedly missed? Yeah, they actually turned the application in early. Like, three-months-ago early.
The bureau sent information to Sina Tech stating that Google Maps indeed applied for the license back in November 2011, well before the February 1 deadline. The application is still being processed, but the bureau confirmed that while it’s being processed, Google is still permitted to operate its mapping service in China.
This makes sense given what Google told Penn Olson when we talked to them yesterday (“We’re currently in discussions with the government”). It also raises the question of where, exactly, this entirely unfounded rumor came from. Was this yet another case of a competitor drumming up some fake news in hopes of gaining some market share by weakening the market leader, or just some good old-fashioned bad journalism? Perhaps we’ll never know.