The Cuban Government Unveils Its Version of Google / 14ymedio
Posted on July 19, 2015
14ymedio, Havana, 13 July 2015 — The launching of a new Cuban Internet
search engine was barely mentioned on official websites or on tonight’s
However, it was reported that on the occasion of the Tenth Congress of
the Communist Youth League, a new search engine would be launched.
“Unified Contents for an Advanced Search” (“Contenidos Unificados para
Búsqueda Avanzada, or “CUBA”), is meant to serve as a Cuban version of
an alternative to Google.
Available through redcuba.cu, the CUBA portal provides a search engine
for websites using the .cu domain. According to its developers, the idea
behind CUBA is to link all websites located on Cuban servers unto one
site, thus providing the user a “faster and more efficient” search engine.
This website now joins the Cuban government’s growing trend of creating
imitations of the most important online resources and social media. The
island already has Eucred, mimicking the free content encyclopedia
Wikipedia, “La Tendedera” (“The Clothes Line”) competing with Facebook,
and an alternative to the illegal “weekly packet” nicknamed “La
Mochila,” or “The Backpack.” Still, none of them are as popular as the
The CUBA project was developed at UCI, the University of Information
Science, over three months, two of which were focused on sorting all of
the country’s websites. Its developers guarantee that from the moment of
its launching, it contains 500,000 indexed web pages, and among these
are 6,695 using the .cu domain.
Ariagna González, director of UCI’s Center for Internet Studies and
Development, told the official press that CUBA’s design is adaptable to
different types of electronic devices, be they computers, tablets, or
smartphones. It will allow the user to retrieve information posted on
Cuban servers, and could also be an alternative for people who only have
access to intranets, such as Infomed and Cubarte. Several computer users
who spoke to 14ymedio agreed that “while it’s not the internet, at least
it [CUBA] makes searching Cuban websites easier.” Gloria, a 34-year old
user of the Cubarte intranet said that for years now she has needed “a
search engine that could help me find everything from a theater group to
a “Joven Club,”* and now I’m hoping to do so with this new tool.”
Others, like sixteen-year-old Anthony, are a bit more wary when it comes
to recently launched CUBA: “Honestly, I prefer Google. This new search
engine is like reinventing the wheel, but for the Internet. All the
search engines we need have already been invented.” Anthony was
connected to WiFi on Havana’s La Rampa Boulevard when 14ymedio asked for
CUBA’s technology is based on the Orión search engine developed by UCI
in 2013. In order to publicize the existence of this new tool, all
“Joven Club” staff is being trained on how to instruct users on all the
resources available through it. Apart from its home page, CUBA offers
direct access to sites dedicated to sports, entertainment, news, health,
art, and the humanities.
The real test for the search engine’s developers will be the upcoming
school year when it is projected that 295 high schools and 329 trade
schools throughout the whole country will be connected to the web. The
plan includes connecting middle schools, special education schools, and
daycare centers to the Internet before 2017, and elementary schools one
Nevertheless, CUBA’s principal obstacle will be overcoming the public’s
misgivings, since it seems they are more interested in using original
sites than their Cuban versions.
* Translator’s Note: “Joven Club de Computación y Electrónica,” or
“JCCE,” is a nationwide network of computer centers, where users only
have access to the Cuban intranet. There are currently over 600 such
centers throughout the island. Nevertheless, much of the equipment is
obsolete, and the use of the Internet is closely monitored.
Translated by José Badué
Source: The Cuban Government Unveils Its Version of Google / 14ymedio |
Translating Cuba –
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