More Google Services Blocked in China

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More Google services cut in ChinaGoogle (GOOG) maintains a page at its website that updates issues about "service accessibility from within mainland China." YouTube and Google's blogging software have been blocked by China since March 21, but its Gmail and Web search functions have been available consistently.Google recently updated the page to show that its mobile services are being partially blocked. That means people in China who have cell phones that use Google's search services may find that those services are not working. In other cases, mobile users of Google services may only have sporadic access to the American company's wireless products for mapping and e-mail.

While it's not clear what's causing the outages, the Chinese central government almost certainly has a hand in it. The People's Republic has been playing a sort of cat-and-mouse game with Google since it closed down its Chinese search site, Google.cn, and moved its service to Hong Kong. China is now dealing with international disdain of its role in blocking Google, and the conflict between free speech and its own laws that mandate that some internet sites must censor some of their content.

But the problem with Google's mobile services is new, and may be intended to pressure Google to reach a compromise with the Chinese government so that the firm can continue to serve its large customer base on the mainland. So far neither side has backed down, which could mean that more and more of Google's services in China will disappear.
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