Google has recognised the Palestinians’ upgraded UN status, placing the name “Palestine” on its search engine instead of “Palestinian Territories,” a company spokesman said on Friday.
The domain name www.google.ps, Google’s search engine for the territories, now brings up a homepage with “Palestine” written underneath the Google logo.
The change took effect on Wednesday, Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said in a statement.
“We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian Territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products. We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries. In this case, we are following the lead of the UN… and other international organisations,” he said.
The UN General Assembly in November upgraded Palestine to the status of non-member observer state by a vote of 138 votes in favour, nine against and 41 abstentions.
Palestinian authorities have since begun to use the “State of Palestine” in diplomatic correspondence and issued official stamps for the purpose.
Israel questioned Google’s decision.
“This change raises questions about the reasons behind this surprising involvement of what is basically a private Internet company in international politics — and on the controversial side,” foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.