Google hints at detente in China standoff

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Search giant says it will give negotiations a couple of years.

Google has hinted during the TED conference in California that it may soften its stance towards China, according to reports.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin was questioned at the event on the search giant's threat earlier this year to pull out of China if it has to continue censoring search results on the internet.

Brin has now said that pulling out of the country will not occur immediately, and that he is optimistic that negotiations with China will be successful even if it takes a couple of years.

Google made the threat to exit China after the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights campaigners were hacked last year.

The company has been widely praised by commentators globally for taking a tough stance against the Chinese internet censorship programme, especially since it would mean a substantial loss of revenue for Google's search division.

However, since the initial threat, Google's will appears to be weakening.

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said after the firm's fourth quarter financial results were released that he is committed to staying in China.

Brin has now offered to build more bridges, claiming that the threat to pull out was not because he believed that the email hacking attacks had come from the Chinese government, but because of the deteriorating state of human rights in the country.

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