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article imageGoogle Caught Red-Handed Stealing Intellectual Property

By Caydel     Apr 11, 2007 in Business
Google acknowledged Sunday that a dictionary of Chinese words used with one of its recently released software tools came from Sohu.com, without the permission of Sohu.com.
Google China spokesperson Cui Jin writes that the Google Pinyin Input Method Editor (IME) "was built leveraging some non-Google database resources". The IME is a piece of software which allows users to enter Chinese Characters by typing their Pinyin romanization equivelents.
This admission from Google comes as the company faces the threat of a lawsuit from Sohu.com. Sohu issues a warning to Google on Good Friday (April 6, 2007) to cease offering the software by Monday (April 9, 2007) and issue an official apology. Sohu.com also requested that Google issue and official apology.
The previous version of Google's IME software relied on a database which bore a striking resemblance to that used by the Sohu.com tool, including identical mismatches of Pinyan to Chinese characters. The two databases also showed the names of several Sohu.com developers, which were added at development time for the convenience of the developers, and otherwise would not have appeared in a similar database.
As of Monday, Google has released updated software relying on a database built out of their own Google China search queries rather than the potentially stolen data. Additionally, the new version of the software fixes a bug announced Friday which could potentially allow a malicious user to gain control of a remote system.
Sohu.com verified the new database released by Google was sufficiently different from their own database, falling from 96% similarity to 79% similarity.
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