JERUSALEM – Google is de facto recognizing a state of Palestine -- at least on its local home page in the Palestinian territories.
Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said Friday "We're changing the name 'Palestinian territories' to 'Palestine' across our products."
He said Google consults with a number of sources and authorities when naming countries and is following the lead of several international organizations.
The move comes after a U.N. decision last year upgrading the Palestinians' status to "non-member observer state."
Israel says Palestinian statehood should be reached through negotiations, not unilateral moves.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said "Google is not a diplomatic entity which begs the question why are they getting involved in international politics and on the controversial side." Google has a large research and development center in Israel.
U.N spokesman Farhan Haq said the organization tended to refer to Palestinian areas on its maps as "the occupied Palestinian territories," but after the upgraded status, documents now refer to it as "Palestine."
Google's domain for Palestinian territories www.google.ps now lists the location as "Palestine."