We’ve just received official word from Google confirming that they are not currently blocked in China and that a server issue was most likely the cause of their dashboard misread. One month ago, Google put up their watered-down engine to avoid being shut down completely in Mainland China. Because the Chinese government did not like the auto redirect to Google Hong Kong previously in place, the new degraded version at the center of all today’s confusion simply links to Google Hong Kong.
From Google, in an email today:
Because of the way we measure accessibility in China, it’s possible that our machines could overestimate the level of blockage. That seems to be what happened last night when there was a relatively small blockage. It appears now that users in China are accessing our properties normally.
Please also note that the dashboard is not a real time tool.
The email also suggests that an error in measuring what turned out to be a small amount of blockage was responsible for the false alarm. The fact that the dashboard does not update in realtime is probably what lead to today’s mixed reports as to whether or not the service was working. When asked what specific issue caused the blockage, Google responded that they had nothing more to add.