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Tianya Wenda: Google Answers For China

Google today launched another questions-and-answers service, Tianya Wenda, in cooperation with Tianya Club, one of the most popular Internet forum in China. Although the service is (currently) not located under Google’s domain, but it’s running on Google’s web servers and is using the very same back-end program that powers the recent launched Google Otvety – only in Chinese rather than in Russian. (though you cannot use your Google account to log in)

This would be Google’s first .cn site accepting user registrations… except that the site is using Tianya’s ICP – the Internet Content Provider number is a badge handed out by the Chinese government to mark self-censorship conformant, legally operating .cn sites – and you will not be able to use a Google account for Wenda. Still, Googlified, citing the Chinese DoNews, says that Google acquired 60% of Tianya (I’m waiting for Google press support’s confirmation on this [Update: Still no confirmation on this, but I’m told that DoNews isn’t a very reliable source, lowering the chances some more that the 60% acquisition bit will turn out to be true.]). Furthermore, Googlified says that Wenda is running on Google’s servers.

User accounts on Tianya.cn, by the way, are vulnerable to XSS (cross-site scripting) injections, meaning others might be able to steal your cookie login credentials, as co-editor Tony Ruscoe found out today. Tony created a use-case which could enable an attacker to construct a URL on a tianya.cn sub-domain to execute arbitrary JavaScript (I sent this off to Google security, just in case).

In other, related news Tianya.cn was recently involved in an attempt by the Chinese government to suppress the reporting on a bridge collapse in Fenghuang a week ago. Quote the Associated Press last Friday:

Communist authorities have banned most state media from reporting on the deadly collapse of a bridge in southern China, with local officials punching and chasing reporters from the scene, reporters said Friday.

Google, Google Answers, Tianya Wenda, China

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