Sogou Map announced through its official website on Wednesday that it would officially stop operations at 23:00 on May 15, closing all services. Users are advised to download Tencent Maps instead. In fact, since November of last year, Sogou Map has been unavailable on app stores.
In September 2021, Sogou announced a merger with Tencent, becoming an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Tencent Holdings. Sogou completed a privatization transaction, which directly resulted in Sogou Map going offline. After the merger with Tencent, most of Sogou businesses were merged into Tencent‘s PCG (Platform and Content Group), and only search and input methods are still operated by the Sogou brand.
Sogou Map is the earliest web map for public service in China, with history dating back to 1999. Map dealer Go2Map was established then, and Sogou bought this company for $9.3 million in 2005, and applied its map service related technology to Sogou products. Soon after, Sogou renamed the service as Sogou Map.
According to data from several third-party app traffic monitoring platforms, the monthly activity data of Sogou Map in the first quarter of 2022 further declined. Data by Analysis indicates that in February this year, the monthly active users of Sougou Map was about 1 million, while that of Baidu Maps, Amap (Gaode) and Tencent Maps was 550 million, 450 million and 50.82 million respectively, ranking in the top three spots.
Sogou Map has also received scrutiny for its privacy features. In August, 2021, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) organized an inspection into three issues, including the app’s illegal checking of address books, location information and harassing users by opening a screen pop-up window, which were strongly complained about by users. The MIIT found that the 10.9.7 version of Sogou Map illegally accessed users’ address books and geographical locations, requiring certain rectifications.