Two pieces of news regarding web browsers in China, unfortunately neither of them good news.
China Tech News is reporting that Kingsoft, a software security package, and 360 Browser, which purports to be a more secure browser from Qihoo, are no longer working together as they had claimed to do earlier this year.
While I haven’t been to the mainland recently (since 2007 in fact) I think a lot of the problems around software security and piracy are still par for the course. That two “security” software vendors can’t work together just means that the user loses. Kingsoft also claimed to be working with Maxthon earlier this year, Kingsoft, Maxthon To Jointly Develop Secure Browser– we’ll see if that ends up a better partnership than with Qihoo.
Then there is more ominous news from the BBC and The Register regarding the fact that Opera has forced all users of Opera Mini in China to use the Chinese language Mini. This comes with a new proxy server that is filtering access to websites like Facebook and Twitter, which used to be accessible.
In fact Twitter users in China were complaining of this a few days before the BBC article was posted. There’s a lot to dislike about this outside of the fact that it looks like Opera is working with the Chinese government to filter the web for Chinese users. It also means that if you are an expatriate in China, and you’re more comfortable with an English interface for your web browser, you can’t use Opera Mini in English in China.
This is a sad day for the open web in China.