Google started warning its Chinese users when a search result was censored by the government, the company announced this Friday in a post on one of its official blogs. Previously, the blocked pages triggered “lost connection” and “not available” warnings. From now on, a pop-up window will open and warn that the interruption is probably due to the internet control mechanisms implemented in the country.
To create the correction, Google analyzed the 350,000 most popular searches in the country and identified which ones most stopped at the fine tooth, discovering that the vast majority of banned terms were common words in Chinese daily life. The company does not mention the word “censorship” in the text that presents the tool, treating the issue as a technical problem.
This is probably due to the company’s ongoing conflicts with Chinese authorities and the unstable condition under which its websites operate there. Services such as Google News or YouTube have been blocked several times in the country, mainly to stifle political crises or to deflect protests such as those calling for Tibet’s independence.
As a result, the company has already threatened to leave the country and, in May 2010, began to temporarily redirect its Chinese users to the Hong Kong version of its search engine.
Chinese government officials have yet to comment on Google’s decision. China maintains a sophisticated Web page censorship apparatus. See how the Chinese digital isolation belt works by clicking here.
Google China Censorship