Google has a new service, but it won’t help you find pictures of Justin Bieber or stay in touch with friends. It’s a map that shows how many times governments around the world have contacted the company with requests — either to remove content or retrieve data about Google users. Who knew Brazil was so nosy?

The girl from Ipanema better watch her back. Brazil made more requests of Google than any other country, followed by the U.S., the U.K. and most of Europe. Google says Brazil makes more requests because “we have such a large number of Brazilian users on orkut, our social networking site.” Huh, so there are people who use orkut?

The requests so far are tallied from 2009, but Google says it will update the data in six-month increments.

Not every country is listed, and only one has its own color. That would be China, Google’s recent privacy nemesis. Clicking on China’s glaring red question mark brings up the following text: “Chinese officials consider censorship demands as state secrets, so we cannot disclose that information at this time.”

Now that we know how many times governments request information from Google, the burning question is: How often does Google fork it over?

We don’t know. Google says that it hasn’t “yet found a way to provide more detail about our compliance with user data requests in a useful way, but we plan to in the future.”

They give a lengthier explanation in this FAQ and a corresponding blog post. You can access the map here. — PZS


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