Google Blogoscoped

Monday, August 20, 2007

Google China Blog Search Goes Live

The domain was available for quite some time now, but it didn’t display any service so far. Some minutes ago, it changed to a (mostly) working homepage, meaning Google China now has a blog search engine among its array of sites.

As other Google offerings in China, this one is self-censored (on some searches, like a search for “censorship”, the bottom of the page in italics disclaims that some search results are not shown in compliance with local laws, regulations and policies). Also, upon entering certain queries like human rights or tiananmen, the result doesn’t properly display at all, but shows a place-holder message instead. However, it seems like something is still being rolled out here, and I’m not sure if this place-holder page is only triggered by “sensitive” queries.

But blog information is especially hard to control. While partially self-censored, Google’s blog search engine still displays relevant sensitive information; for instance, the first result for a search for Fenghuang (the pinyin spelling of a town in which a bridge collapsed recently, news the Chinese government tries to suppress) shows a snippet from

Firsthand account of assault of reporters covering the collapse of ...
We told you about some Chinese journalists probing the Fenghuang (凤凰) bridge collapse getting harassed and beaten by local thugs, and EastSouthWestNorth has followed up with a translation of a fascinating first-hand account of the ...

I’m not sure whether most users from China will be able to click through to the full blog post, but the headline and snippet alone convey parts of the information.


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