Back in March, Google launched a
to help users keep track of the availability of its services in mainland China. According to the latest status update, Google's web search service is currently “partially blocked,” meaning that accessibility is anywhere between 10 and 66 percent. While
such blockages have been reported on a few occasions in the past as well
, the latest comes a day after Google announced that it was stopping the automatic re-routing of Chinese search traffic to its Hong Kong site.
The company says that search queries based on the search engine's query suggestion feature, Google Suggest, are the ones being blocked. “Normal searches that do not use query suggestions are unaffected. We have updated our China status page with the latest information,” Jay Nancarrow, a Google spokesman, said.
Although the Chinese authorities are known to have a gripe about Google Suggest , the timing of this search blockage is quite ominous. With Google's Internet Content Provider license set to expire today, it is awaiting a decision on its application for a fresh license.