China Now Blocking Google Mobile Services

Google’s mobile services are at least partially blocked for users in mainland China, according to the page that Google 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?

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