Google China users were faced with error messages when they tried accessing the site for queries in what has been touted as the Beijing’s rejoinder to Google’s last week blatant move in which the search company leave the country over Chinese web censorship rules.
The search giant said earlier in the day that its search engine fell foul to a technical glitch, but later on it claimed that “the Great Firewall of China” was to blame for the outage.
A Google spokesman said it was still not clear whether the search engine had been blocked intentionally, or due to a technical glitch in China. However, Google said that its search site is now up and running, and that it is still probing into the matter.
This issue actually pivots around a set of letters in its coding that carried the letters “rfa”, which the search company thinks were mistaken for “Radio Free Asia”, a non-profit media company banned in China, by the Chinese filters.
The company believed that by adding those characters into the coding, the search site ran into filters, which eventually resulted into service outage.
However, since the coding was done around a week ago, it didn’t seem to be explicitly related to that issue, according to the company. “So whatever happened today to block Google.com.hk must have been as a result of a change in the great firewall”, a Google spokesman said.
Google's tussle with China could have a negative impact on the search engine's business over the next few years. Given the fact that Apple is expected to launch a search engine over the next couple of years and Microsoft's Bing is on the rise, Google is certainly taking some significant risks by turning its back on China.
(The Washington Post)
(The Los Angeles Times)