Before Google’s announcement to exit China, Google China used to censor organic search results and prevent certain search results (that was considered inappropriate according to China’s Internet laws before March 2010) from showing up on Google when users searched from within Mainland China.
Google’s decision was to redirect all China-based search users from google.cn to google.com.hk. The story continues.
A large number of Google searches from within Mainland China have been disrupted and/or blocked temporarily due to many more “sensitive” keywords in recent months. This may have caused Google’s web search users to believe Google’s web search has technical issues from within Mainland.
While these disruptions are outside Google’s control and unrelated to our technology, we apologize for the inconvenience.
Google shows this isn’t the case of technical issue from Google, but is due to certain keywords being blocked from within Mainland China.
In order to figure out which keywords are causing problems, a team of engineers in the US reviewed the 350,000 most popular search queries in China. In their research, they looked at multiple signals to identify the disruptive queries, and from there they identified specific terms at the root of the issue. We’ve observed that many of the terms triggering error messages are simple everyday Chinese characters, which can have different meanings in different contexts.
Google provides 2 options with messages to search users when they have encountered the interruption issue: 1. Edit Search Term, 2. Search Anyway.
We’ve observed that searching for [SOME CHINESE CHARACTERS] in Mainland China may temporarily break your connection to Google. This interruption is outside Google’s control – 1. Edit Search Term, 2. Search Anyway.
It may not be possible for Google to ease the relationship with the Mainland Chinese government, Google’s best option for now is to have user experience improved for all web searches from within China.