The Chinese government has blocked Google.com and all other Google-based websites, including Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Analytics, and Google Drive.
The country’s Communist Party is responsible for the censorship. This isn’t the first time Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and China got into a spat over similar problems, as the search engine giant refuses to back down and censor content at China’s request.
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GreatFire (a monitoring website from China) was the first website to report this. Here are a few other things they discovered. The subdomains (which include Google.com, mail.google.com, google-analytics.com, docs.google.com, drive.google.com) have been DNS poisoned. All the lookups from China point towards to the domain IP: 18.104.22.168 from Korea, which doesn’t really work. If you live in China, you can’t use Google search or other Google websites, even if you DNS outside China, without a VPN or circumvention tool. Users who live in China can still access Google in other countries like Google.co.uk.
GreatFire said, “Never before have so many people been affected by a decision to block a website. If Google stays blocked, many more people in China will become aware of the extent of censorship.”
So far there is no indication whether this move is permanent or not. Hopefully, Google can find a way to make an agreement with China’s government, but that may not happen for quite awhile.
Why block Google over other popular websites? GreatFire suggests that it’s because it affects a greater number of users. They said, “Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were all blocked before they attracted more than a small number of users in China. We’ve argued before that the authorities didn’t dare to fully block GMail, since it has too many users already. Fully blocking Google goes much further. Google Search is only the second search engine in China (after Baidu), but with an online population of more than 500 million that still leaves it with millions of daily users. According to Alexa, it’s the Top 5 most used website in China. Never before have so many people been affected by a decision to block a website. If Google stays blocked, many more people in China will become aware of the extent of censorship. How will they react? Will there be protests? Check out reactions by Weibo users on FreeWeibo. “
We will keep you posted about what happens with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and China’s government.