Skip to main content

Google+ Blocked in China? No, Just Throttled

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.

  • bennaye
    I'd be surprised if they didn't do this.
    Reply
  • makaveli316
    Chinese people need to make a mental check.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • Nakal
    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.
    Reply
  • zinabas
    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.
    Reply
  • GNCD
    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.
    Reply
  • zinabas
    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.
    Reply
  • GNCD
    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.
    Reply
  • master9716
    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?
    Reply
  • Nakal
    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.
    Reply