Google China launches social network site

In partnership with Tianya, Google launched two new services called Laiba and Wenda. The two services translate literally to "come here" and "ask and answer" respectively.

In partnership with Tianya, Google launched two new services called Laiba and Wenda. The two services translate literally to "come here" and "ask and answer" respectively.

The first one, Laiba, appears to be a social networking site hosted on Google's servers, but found under the Tianya domain. Even the head of Google China has a profile.

google-laiba.jpg

"Another Google-powered Tianya.cn site went live today at laiba.tianya.cn (codename “Google Fensi”), with “Lai ba” meaning “Come here”. Does any Chinese-speaking reader know what this is? It looks like a social network/ discussion board. Even Google China’s boss Lee Kai-Fu has a public profile on the site (according to its information, he was born December 3 and is 45 years old)." -- Philipp Lenssen

Wenda is the second website launched under the Tianya brand today -- it's a replica of the newly released Otvety service -- basically a question and answer site like Google Answers used to be, only better.

google-china-q-a.jpg

Googlified found reports that Google purchased 60% of Tianya, but when asked, Google flat out denied that with only a statement saying they have made an investment.

No.

The announcement we made today in China with Tianya was the launch of Tianya Laiba and Tianya Wenda. These are Tianya services powered by Google technology. Tianya Laiba is an online community where people can connect with friends and share content. Tianya Wenda is an online service that allows people to ask questions and receive answers from others.

I can confirm that Google has made an investment in Tianya, but we don’t have any additional details to share.

[images from Google Blogoscoped]