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Kazakhstan: Setting Up Borders Online

Earlier this week Kazakhstani internet users began to observe a curious phenomenon. Since recently, Google.kz now redirects to the main Google.com website with a Kazakh language interface. This has been a nuisance for those who use Google Search engine via Chrome browser, because every time they try a search, the blank Kazakhified start page of the main site appears.

Google's Bill Karan, senior vice-president and chief of search infrastructure department, explains in the company's official blog [ru]:

A month ago the Kazakh center of network information informed us about the decree of the Ministry of communication and information of Kazakhstan. According to the document, all domain names in .kz zone, including google.kz, must physically reside on servers inside the country… Therefore, we have made a decision to redirect visitors from google.kz to www.google.com in Kazakh language.

Cartoon by the Kazakh blogger FrozenKing

Mr_recovery wants all back, because such “novelty” would negatively affect the web traffic in Kazakhstan on the whole [ru]:

The “old” version incorporated search among Kazakhstani sites. Now there's no such option any more.

But yerden has a completely different opinion. He welcomes such decision, as he believes that the Kazakhstani sector of internet should be legally regulated [ru]:

Settling the [Google] servers on the territory of Kazakhstan shall stimulate the development of internet in Kazakhstan. The .kz domain name is associated with Kazakhstan and its sites have local audience. So, we must build our own infrastructure and data centers, create jobs and raise taxes here, in Kazakhstan.

Quessir categorically disagrees [ru]:

Google will not be able to provide search services here in full [...] The company is doing a right thing when it refuses to participate in this circus. And it openly, frankly and unequivocally said so.

Roma_penman opines that Google's decision is not a PR action, but an adherence to corporate philosophy [ru]:

Google is a company with values and principles. It stands for open internet without borders… An it is a huge company – if Google leaves Kazakhstan, how much of income it would lose? 0,000001 per cent, probably?

Vladimir78 adds his point of view to the list of negative consequences [ru]:

Majority of Kazakhstani websites have lost their visitors … and money they had invested in search engine optimization [SEO].

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