Himfr.com Reports Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattering Google

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In case you've missed it, China's irrepressible shanzhai enthusiasts have been at it again, using imitation to pay tribute to Google.

Since Google's Jan. 12 announcement that it might withdraw from the Chinese market, two knockoff Web sites have appeared in China bearing an intentionally uncanny

resemblance to Google sites.

Goojje.com, a spoof of Google's Chinese site, was reportedly founded by a female college student in Guangdong and put together by a group of about 20 people around

the country, according to Chinese media. Its Chinese name (whose Mandarin pronunciation is Romanized as 'gujie') is a pun that can be translated as either 'Google's

big sister' or 'valley girl.' (Google's Chinese name translates as 'valley song,' and it also sounds like 'valley big brother.'

On the Goojje home page, the lettering of the logo features nearly identical font and coloring as Google's main search page, but with the addition of a blue paw-

print that nods to Baidu's similar logo. The home page features a slogan in support of the site that obviously inspired it: 'When older brother stayed for older

sister, sister was delighted as before.' In addition to a basic search engine, Goojje includes online discussion forums, a social networking function and a Web

portal. The site aims to be highly focused on building an online community, and is recruiting volunteers to help out with Web editing, site design, and social

network administration.

Then there's Youtubecn.com, a Chinese-language YouTube clone, which was created by Guangzhou-based tech geek Li Sinhe in one night, according to the Christian

Science Monitor. While Li's site looks a lot like Google's YouTube.com, featuring a large number of videos lifted directly from the U.S.-based site through

YouTube's standard API, one key difference is that it can still be accessed freely in China. The real YouTube has been blocked by the Great Firewall since March

last year.

Li told the Monitor that he started his site as a sort of public service. 'There are many Chinese surfers who don't like to jump the wall or who don't know how to,'

he said, referring to the use of technological workarounds to get around the Great Firewall. Li said the site has been fairly popular in China, straining his U.S.-

based servers and forcing him to limit page views to 200,000 per day.

The two mock sites, though intended to pay a compliment to Google, raise tricky issues, potentially infringing on Google's intellectual property rights, and

confusing users who might believe Google is behind the sites. A Google spokeswoman said the company is not affiliated with Goojje or Youtubecn, and declined to

comment further.

Perhaps mindful of these concerns, the folks behind the shanzhai sites appear to be taking some pains to distinguish themselves from Google proper. Goojje's 'about'

page explains that the site is independent of Google, and Li's YouTubecn.com site has recently removed YouTube's trademarked 'broadcast yourself' slogan from its home page and replaced it with a proud 'shanzhai' label.

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