Google launches a WeChat mini game in China
(Updated 19th July, 2018.)
Remember Google’s Quick, Draw! -- the online drawing game released in 2016 that lets an AI guess what you are doodling?
Almost two years later, it’s finally arrived in China… a country where most Google services are banned.
Cai Hua Xiao Ge -- which roughly translates as Pictionary with Little Google -- just launched as a mini program on WeChat. Like the original game, it challenges you to draw an object within 20 seconds -- like a piano or a horse -- well enough that an AI can correctly identify what it is.
Most of Google’s services and apps are blocked in China -- including the original Quick, Draw! Game -- after the company pulled its search engine from the country in 2010.
This new game lives inside WeChat’s expanding ecosystem of around 1 million mini programs -- tiny applications that are sort of like apps within an app. Each mini program is smaller than 10MB, and you don’t have to download them separately from an app store. Instead, they can launch almost instantly on WeChat.
Since the 2010 pull-out, we’ve seen a number of Google apps crawling back into China. Last month, Google launched a Chinese version of Files Go, and delivered its AR and VR development kit to Xiaomi’s app store. And Google Translate has been gaining ground after a quiet comeback last year.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this article said that Cai Hua Xiao Ge doesn't yell out words. It does, and it's just as annoying as it was in Quick, Draw!