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Google, China Play Game of Cat and Mouse
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 05 April 2010 18:09

From PC World

Google, China Play Game of Cat and MouseGoogle's January threat to go toe-to-toe with one of the world's most powerful countries left it with virtually no option but to stop censoring its search results in China and face the consequences, analysts said.

Late last month, Google stopped censoring results, and a week later it found that China had apparently blocked some access to its Internet sites for a short period.

Google first blamed itself for last Monday's intermittent blockage but then said it was likely caused by changes to China's Internet filter.

The company's decision to redirect Chinese users from to its Hong Kong-based site,, for "uncensored" search results followed its Jan. 12 threat to pull its business out of the country . At the time, Google contended that a "highly sophisticated and targeted" 2009 attack against its network had originated in China.

Google has not blamed the Chinese government for the attack, in which hackers sought to access the Gmail accounts of human rights activists.

Nonetheless, the company has asked global users of its Google Apps hosted services to monitor their availability in China, acknowledging that the government could at any time block the country's 384 million Internet users from accessing them.

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research Inc., said it's possible that the intermittent blockage of Google sites indicates that China is either testing the waters or just trying to make it a bit difficult to access the sites.

"If the numbers going to are small, China probably won't bother [restricting access]. But if the traffic picks up, there will probably be some blockage," he added.


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