In an effort to retain its Internet content provider's license in China, Google this week dusted off Google.cn and stopped automatically redirecting users from mainland China to the Google.hk site, where search results are not censored.
Instead, the company posted a "We have moved" message on Google.cn, with a link users can click to get to Google.hk themselves. But as of early Wednesday, it was still unclear how Chinese officials would react to the changes, if at all. Now, Bloomberg reports Google's search functionality is partially blocked in China.
The key on Google's mainland China accessibility report indicates services that are partially blocked are 10 percent to 66 percent blocked. But according to Bloomberg:
The blockage affects the "suggest" tool, which helps users refine queries as they are typed, Mountain View, California- based Google said in an e-mailed statement. Traditional searches are unaffected, it said.
If Google pulls completely out of China, the company loses access to "the largest concentration of Internet users" on the planet. But is that market worth capitulating on its stance against censorship - not to mention eventual fines in the U.S. for failing to protect human rights?
Once again, Google will have to decide.