Google search blocked in China

Google Inc. said access to its website in China is working normally after earlier reporting that some services, including search, mobile and advertising, were fully blocked.This is the first time that Google has been blocked since March, when it closed its search service in China and began automatically redirecting users to an uncensored search engine in Hong Kong after a standoff over censorship…..

A conciliatory end? Looks like we spoke too soon. Yes, Google and China seem to be on a collision course yet again, with the company’s “Mainland China service availability page” showing that web search and ads have once again been fully blocked.

Because of the way we measure accessibility in China, it’s possible that our machines could overestimate the level of blockage,” the company said today in an e-mailed statement. “That seems to be what happened last night when there was a relatively small blockage. It appears now that users in China are accessing our properties normally.

Google’s initial report on its website raised concern that authorities in China might still be unsatisfied with how the company complies with local law. Google had also said at least two other services, including news and images, were partially blocked, while the Gmail e-mail service was fully or mostly accessible.

Additionally, image and news search have been downgraded from “fully accessible” yesterday to “partially blocked” today. YouTube, Picasa, and other services already blocked remain as such. Looks like the saga continues.

Google had its Internet license renewed earlier this month after it stopped automatically sending Chinese users to its separate Hong Kong site. A conflict with China erupted in January after the company said it would no longer self-censor search results in the world’s largest Internet market.

Zhang Feng, head of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s communication development department, said last week the Google China website meets the nation’s regulations against online content deemed to be illicit.

Google fell as much as 2.3 percent to $473.75 in after- hours trading. The stock, down 22 percent this year, had gained 64 cents to $484.99 during regular trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

TechCrunch reports hearing back from Google, who now say this is all much ado about nothing — or rather, it’s a false alarm. Apparently there was “relatively small blockage” last night, but it has since returned to normal.


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