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Google+ Blocked in China? No, Just Throttled

By - Source: The Guardian | B 26 comments

Early tests indicated that China was blocking access to the new Google+ social website, but additional tests now show that access is merely being throttled to discourage its use.

Thursday brought reports that China had blocked Google's new Facebook/Twitter lovechild (social website), Google+, in less than 24 hours after the company initiated its "limited" trial. The news was based on tests conducted by Chinese website Great Firewall of China who used a server within the country to ping local access to Google's site from across the globe. Beijing, Shenzen, Inner Mangolia and two other areas failed to connect to Google's plus.google.com domain. A separate test with Just Ping also showed the same "block."

But for now, that may not actually be the case. Penn Olson reports that China isn't blocking its citizens from Google+ at all. Instead, the government is throttling access to discourage locals from using the new social arena. The theory is based on the Just Ping tool again which – as of Friday morning – showed "packet loss" results with Chinese-based servers. Performing a traceroute also showed the routes from China to Google+ to be extremely slow.

"If it’s 100% of info packets being lost, then it’s very likely blocked, but if the number is lower, it’s likely just being throttled, or having some other issue," the site reports. "Perhaps this is where the others jumped to the conclusion."

Throttling is a new tactic being used by China's Great Firewall so that it appears that the country isn't preventing access to external sites. Access to all overseas websites have reportedly been reduced to a crawl since the beginning of the year. Gmail itself is described as "horribly throttled," taking users around five minutes to move from the login screen page to the inbox.

Penn Olson also notes that some Google+ IP addresses match those used by YouTube, meaning that the social site will inevitably be unavailable on some occasions in mainland China. The Great Firewall has already blocked various social websites outright including Facebook, Twitter, foursquare, YouTube and others. Google Buzz, on the other hand, is still accessible because the Chinese user base is so low, it's of no concern to authorities.

It's speculated that if Google+ doesn't gain any traction within the country, then it may not fall within the unilateral ban blanket. This is where the throttling comes in: to make access to the site so horribly slow, that Chinese residents won't have an interest and thus no reason to be blocked. Penn Olson suggested that Chinese authorities are trying to signal that Chinese citizens should use their own websites and read their own news, and that services like Google+ and Gmail are so slow, they're "rubbish."

Check out our hands-on experience and explanation of Google's + social push.

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  • 3 Hide
    bennaye , July 2, 2011 8:32 AM
    I'd be surprised if they didn't do this.
  • 0 Hide
    makaveli316 , July 2, 2011 8:44 AM
    Chinese people need to make a mental check.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 2, 2011 10:01 AM
    autistic society. no wonder they have their own Google, Facebook, Wikipedia etc and do they have theyr own Tom's Guide? lol. better disconnect from the rest of the world and have their own Internet!
  • Display all 26 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Nakal , July 2, 2011 2:27 PM
    I think that is North Korea, Chitetskoy...

    I think eventually even China and other nations are not going to be able to stand in the way of open communication and sharing of ideas. They may try, but people always find a way around such things.
  • 0 Hide
    zinabas , July 2, 2011 3:19 PM
    I wish all the spammers would go bug china. Then they would open up their internet just to get better spam blockers... or murder the spammers. I'm happy with either solution.
  • 4 Hide
    GNCD , July 2, 2011 3:29 PM
    Can someone explain why their government is doing this? Do they want zombies for citizens? They would be in deep poo if the people decide to finally stand up against them.
  • 0 Hide
    zinabas , July 2, 2011 3:33 PM
    GNCD: yes zombies would be perfect. As a communist nation they see three kinds of people. The leaders, the rich (whom the leaders loathe), and the workforce (who they don't care about at all, one worker is in every way the exact same as the next to them). As far as they are concerned the population is just another resource they can exploit.
  • 0 Hide
    GNCD , July 2, 2011 3:54 PM
    zinabasGNCD: yes zombies would be perfect. As a communist nation they see three kinds of people. The leaders, the rich (whom the leaders loathe), and the workforce (who they don't care about at all, one worker is in every way the exact same as the next to them). As far as they are concerned the population is just another resource they can exploit.


    They better start caring about their workforce class. A billion po'ed people could really ruin their day.
  • 0 Hide
    master9716 , July 2, 2011 5:38 PM
    Ill say what I will always say , Countries like this control their people and take away their freedom,like norht Korea. What ever happened to the secret hit squads that countries used to have?
  • 0 Hide
    Nakal , July 2, 2011 5:55 PM
    GNCD, sure if they all hated their government. But many are content with what they have, and many are in rural areas and are either unaffected or are too few / powerless to stop any changes.

    The (relatively) small growing middle class is what is going to have to start speaking out and leading others to promote change in China.

    But China does not want "Chaos" and strikes down any dissent toward the 1 party rule government.
  • 2 Hide
    txsouthpaw , July 2, 2011 10:43 PM
    China's one sided exploitation of the world marketplace coupled with its brutal suppression of dissent makes me sick.
  • -1 Hide
    Antje , July 3, 2011 2:25 AM
    bennayeI'd be surprised if they didn't do this.

    I would not be surprised if it was ultimately blocked, in my opinion.
  • 1 Hide
    googleplus , July 3, 2011 3:11 AM
    You can still get Free Google Plus Invites at http://www.free-google-plus.com It's the only site I know that you can still get invites at right now, since Google stopped allowing the public.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 3, 2011 6:28 AM
    Well it's a shame. I have finally given up on gmail and google in china. After repeated frustration with not being able to access gmail, taking forever for websites (including non-google sites) to open up in Google Chrome browser, to repeated timing out of google searches, I have now switched to Firefox, Yahoo! mail, and the Bing search engine.

    I have always liked Chrome browser, but it really isn't an option for those of us living in China.
  • -4 Hide
    abdussamad , July 3, 2011 6:29 AM
    Ooh more reason for the Americans to blindly hate on China. Glad to see the Chinese are keeping their people safe from foreign influence. Its like how no major US cable operator will air Al Jazeera. Americans are such hypocrites.
  • 0 Hide
    servarus , July 3, 2011 12:10 PM
    GNCDThey better start caring about their workforce class. A billion po'ed people could really ruin their day.

    I wonder if they are going to be afraid. Then again, it does means serious disaster.
  • 0 Hide
    znegval , July 4, 2011 2:17 AM
    NakalI think that is North Korea, Chitetskoy...I think eventually even China and other nations are not going to be able to stand in the way of open communication and sharing of ideas. They may try, but people always find a way around such things.


    This isn't a movie. The good guys don't always win and evil can prevail. I hope you're right but I think the Chinese government is already too powerful even if the people decide to act en mass.
  • 0 Hide
    kkiddu , July 4, 2011 3:29 PM
    znegvalThis isn't a movie. The good guys don't always win and evil can prevail. I hope you're right but I think the Chinese government is already too powerful even if the people decide to act en mass.


    No government can survive people's wrath. All it requires is 1/5th of the 1.5 billion Chinese and the Government would be on its knees in no time.

    But...good luck mobilising and managing 300 mil people.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 5, 2011 4:39 PM
    I pity the poor american idiots that think the chinese people are the zombies for evading the sh1tload of media being thrown in the faces of the rest of the "free" world, sex,sex,violence, buy,buy,buy,fox news,facebook, buy buy buy, actually the government might be doing their people a favor by protecting them from all the crap people in "freedom" are bombarded with in order to control their behaviour... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Live
  • 0 Hide
    nebun , July 5, 2011 5:27 PM
    all of the damn communist Chinese authorities can go and phuck themselves......the people of china need to revolt against this kind of crap....what is life if you can't live it?
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