Beijing: Google is quietly putting back its services in China, amid speculation that the US online search provider is preparing a return to the world's biggest Internet market by building bridges with the Chinese government.
Although Google still directs online search requests from the Chinese mainland to its Hong Kong site, the company's map products are once again available in the market.
The browser version of Google Maps and its Google Earth software were partially accessible in Beijing as of yesterday, state-run China Daily reported.
Gao Chunhui, who established China's first personal website in 1997, said on his Weibo account that Google had moved some of its servers to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The Internet service provider Google was using state-owned carrier China Telecom Corp Ltd, according to the Internet protocol addresses of the servers.
Google did not comment.
Other Google-owned products, such as Gmail, news and application downloading platform, are still inaccessible.
The small steps the search giant is making in China suggest Google is mulling over a comeback, five years after its abrupt departure because of disagreements with the Chinese regulator.
Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google, said earlier this year that the company is looking forward to serving Chinese netizens again.