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Google Chrome arrives in Cuba

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Google brings its browser to isolated island nation following Eric Schmidt's campaign for greater web access

Stewart Cutler / Flickr

Google Chrome is now available for download in Cuba, one of the world's most isolated internet regimes. Google announced the move in a short Google+ post Wednesday, noting that American sanctions against Cuba and other countries have made it more difficult for the company to launch products abroad. Although Cuban internet users have been able to access Chrome through unofficial channels, they'll now be able to download the web browser directly from google.com.cu.

This week's announcement comes after Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and a delegation of web activists visited Cuba in June, pushing for a free and open internet. The government of Raúl Castro has inched toward greater web access in recent months, with new fiber-optic connections and more than 100 public internet cafes, but the outlook remains bleak. According to government figures, just 3 percent of Cubans have regular access to the internet, and broadband subscriptions are among the most expensive in the world.

Google has campaigned for greater web access in other isolated countries, as well. Google launched Chrome in both Syria and Iran in recent years, while Schmidt has made trips to Myanmar and North Korea.