Chinese government is known for actively controlling and censoring the internet, including Google search. The internal filters of the government root out any ‘undesired’ keywords from the search query. Hence, Google used to notify the users when a keyword would be censored, but it has abandoned the warning system now.
The censorship warning feature was at least some help to the users since it allowed them to rephrase their search to yield the desired results. It also let the users know what keywords the government was actively censoring.
However, this is no longer the case. Google has apparently disabled the feature without announcing any changes. In fact, the search giant has also deleted the help article that told the users how to make use of this feature. This essentially shows that the plug has been pulled by Google itself and not by the Chinese government.
This is rather surprising since Google has long endured under the pressing censorship demands of the Chinese government. The measure seems to indicate that Google has apparently reached some kind of agreement with the regime.
The company may have been forced to reach that agreement, though. It was recently reported that Google search was completely blocked on Nov 9. The blocking continued for a day without any reasons cited by the Chinese government. In all probability, it was meant to show Google that the regime can take extreme measure if it didn’t bend the knee.
Whatever be the reason, it is quite right to presume that though Google took the decision, the Chinese government’s pressure is to be blamed. It is indeed a shame to see that the regime in the country wants to stifle online freedom of speech by such tactics.