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Google confirms services blocked in China

Online reports show sudden drop in Google services in China today

Google confirmed a dropoff in traffic to its sites in China today, echoing an online report that the company's services are being blocked there.

All Google services are inaccessible in China on today, according to the Google Transparency Report , which monitors traffic to the company's sites around the globe. And the Web site Greatfire.org , which tracks Internet access in China, also reported today that Google sites and searches are being blocked there.

"We've checked and there's nothing wrong on our end," wrote a Google spokeswoman in an email to Computerworld.

This is not the first time that Google has been blocked in the world's most populated country.

Google has spent more than two years in talks with the Chinese government over its censorship policies.

Trouble began in 2010 when the company found its services blocked in China after Google announced that it would no longer abide by the country's mandate to censor search terms there. Google then moved the majority of its Chinese-focused operations to Hong Kong.

This summer, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt made a prediction that the great firewall of China would fail.

"I believe that ultimately censorship fails," Schmidt said in an interview last week with Foreign Policy magazine. "China's the only government that's engaged in active, dynamic censorship. They're not shy about it."

In the interview, Schmidt predicted that once China's Internet censorship policies fall, an influx of free-flowing information could cause great political and social changes in the country.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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