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6/30/2010
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Google Search Partially Blocked In China

The company isn't prepared to speculate about whether the technical issues are related to its ongoing tension with the Chinese government.

Google users in China may have trouble getting search results, Google confirmed on Wednesday.

The company's Mainland China service availability page shows that Google Web Search is partially blocked in China.

The availability issues primarily affect Google Suggest, the query auto-completion service that presents users with a list of likely search queries based on the first few characters typed by the user.




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"It appears that search queries produced by Google Suggest are being blocked for mainland users in China," a Google spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement. "Normal searches that do not use query suggestions are unaffected. We have updated our China status page with the latest information."

Due to the complexity of written Chinese, Google users in China click-through search suggestions quite frequently, to avoid having to type out a complete query. Suggested queries can be distinguished from typed queries through an identifier in the URL.

In an effort to make sure its license to operate in China gets renewed, Google on Tuesday said that it will stop redirecting Google.cn visitors from mainland China to Google's Hong Kong site.

Google began the practice in March following its decision in January to stop censoring search results in China, but Chinese authorities have made it clear they don't approve.

It's unclear whether Google's new approach -- a link on Google.cn that leads to its Hong Kong site rather than automatic redirection -- will prove more popular among Chinese officials.

Google's spokesperson said the company wasn't prepared to speculate about whether the issues affecting Search Suggestions in China were related to its efforts to reach an accommodation with the Chinese government to continue operating.

Internet services in China experience occasional interruptions and it's not always clear whether the technical problems have political antecedents.

In a letter to Chinese authorities seeking the renewal of its Internet license, Google promises to "abide by the Chinese law," according to a report in China Daily. The report says that a decision on Google's application is expected soon.

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