The State of Google in China Part Two: Google Search Crippled

*UPDATE: My post below may have been written too soon- I've been reading reports that the "blocking" of Google may indeed be an accident, and that a particular three-letter abbreviation in the search URL is triggering the censors as a false positive. But, these ideas are coming from twitter, so need to be taken with a grain of salt. See the included image for the abbreviation. 

Abbreviation in Google search URL causing accidental censorship?

This is looking bad. As of about 5pm today, I noticed I couldn't get a Google search through. I was hesitant to blog about it until I was 100% certain that it was not my connection, my computer, or a temporary thing. 

After 5 hours or so, trying out three different connections, and chatting with friends and business associates online, it obvious that it's much bigger than a less-than-optimal broadband connection. 

So, here's the run-down of the current Google experience in China:

  • Google.com and Google.com.hk are accessible, but searching for anything yield a "The webpage is not available" or similar error.
  • Google.co.jp, Google.nl and so on are somewhat accessible.  That is to say that one can get away with a few searches (in frustration, I tried "Hello Kitty" and got results). 
  • On every single version of Google that I tried, searching for "Google blocked in China" invariably lead to a dead page.

My instincts are so far being proved wrong- I was leaning towards the "China-won't-outright-block-Google" side of the argument. I was also leaning towards the "Gmail-won't-be-blocked" side, as well... but my hope is beginning to waver.

When news first broke that Google was planning on pulling out of China, I remarked that it would become the single largest IT-related news item since the dot-com bust; then things died down for a while. I figured I'd spoke too soon and my China-centric worldview was to blame for my comment. Now, with other IT giants refusing to take part in the China market, I'm tempted to say that it may become the biggest business news item as well.


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