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China Now Blocking Google Mobile Services

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Google’s mobile services are at least partially blocked for users in mainland China, according to the page that Google (s goog) set up recently to track which of its services are available to users in that country (the LA Times appears to have been the first to notice the change to Google’s China services page). The search giant recently stopped filtering its Chinese search results, in contravention of Chinese law, and moved its servers to Hong Kong.

When it did so, the official Google blog post said:

We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services. We will therefore be carefully monitoring access issues, and have created this new web page, which we will update regularly each day, so that everyone can see which Google services are available in China.

It’s not clear how or why the Chinese government is blocking access to mobile services such as search, maps, Gmail, etc. Certain additional services have also been partially blocked — including Picasa, Google Groups and Google Docs — while others are blocked entirely, including Blogger, Google Sites and YouTube.

Last week, China Unicom — the second-largest mobile operator in China — said that it won’t install Google search on its new Android handsets as a result of Google’s actions. China’s mobile market is immense: the leading mobile provider, China Mobile, said last fall that it now has more than half a billion mobile subscribers. For an overview of some of the recent news about China and Google, check out our recent post explaining what you need to know.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user El Struthio

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Is Google’s China Problem a Groundswell of the Closed Internet?

6 Responses to “China Now Blocking Google Mobile Services”

  1. Yeah, I don’t believe either comment to be correct. There’s a business decision to stay out of the search business in China. No one outside of Google and the US Govt is probably fully aware of all the factors surrounding the decision, but Google is being neither arrogant nor altruistic. Based on some sort of info, they decided it was a smarter business decision to partially pull out China.

    • I don’t know that I buy this. It doesn’t make sense to leave a growing market where you’ve established a decent market share where other western companies have failed. I really think it’s about the principal of the matter. People fail to realize that Sergey Brin and Larry Paige have super shares w/ voting privilege while most other stock holders don’t. They have ultimate say, and I bet when you’re as rich as them, you’re not necessarily driven by money.

  2. Brett Glass

    Rich, multibillion-dollar US corporations often have the hubris to believe that they’re invincible and unstoppable. Google has shown even more chutzpah than Microsoft in this regard. Google seems to believe that because it has so much money, and because its CEO was a “bundler” for the Obama campaign and gave it nearly $1 million (and has thereby achieved regulatory capture of the Administration’s tech policy and of the FCC), it can make war on one of the world’s most powerful sovereign nations with the US government’s blessing and support But it’s losing.