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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Google Blocked For At Least Some in China

Google results were blocked for (at least) some in China for the past few hours... this includes the search results of all types of Google country domains (e.g. just as much as or but not the homepage of the service itself, and not an app like Gmail or Google China Music. Casual users of Google may now feel like going elsewhere for results, whereas tech savvy users could use (potentially slower) foreign country proxy server apps or set up their own solutions via e.g. the Google REST API on their site or localhost, or look for third-party sites delivering Google results. If this state continues (and it may be temporary or locally only) then it’s quite a bit less than Google’s self-proclaimed 90% accessibility of results of 2005... though the long-term effects of having escalated the issue might be different.

[Hat tip to Anon and TomHTML!]

Update: Things work again now. Financial Times first quoted Google saying it was due to a “gs_rfai” parameter in Google’s results URL – however, Google later said that “Having looked into this issue in more detail, it’s clear we actually added this parameter a week ago. So whatever happened today to block must have been as a result of a change in the great firewall.” Google at their service availability page write “Many users in mainland China had trouble accessing Web Search, Google News and Google Images on today. As we were investigating and before we made any modifications to our services, service availability began to improve. Within several hours, normal service was restored in mainland China for these properties without any changes introduced by Google.” [Thanks Xujie, Hebbet and George!]


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