The Google search engine was temporarily unblocked in China, during U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Beijing for a series of high-level talks. The search engine has been blocked on mainland China since 2010 but has had brief stints of availability over the years.
Though every single Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) service was blocked in China in early June ahead of the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests, Tech in Asia, a digital technology publication, tested on Thursday several services like the search engine, Google Play, Google Maps and Google Translate, and found they were accessible from normal Internet connections in China.
Some social media users speculated that the website was temporarily made available because Kerry was visiting Beijing.
Google's unblocked today! Thanks, Kerry, do stay.
â€” Valentina Luo (@valentinaluo) July 10, 2014
Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. As of 9:30 a.m. EDT, a check by the International Business Times using services provided by GreatFireWallofChina.org, a service that monitors censorship in China, showed access to Google’s search engine had failed, as was also confirmed by users in China.
So Google was blocked again.... pic.twitter.com/7X5O7QUKgr
â€” edde (@Edourdoo) July 10, 2014
For most of the outside world, Google has become a lifeline to finding answers to a slew of questions on just about anything you can think of. But in China, where Google's search engine has been blocked, citizens have had to use alternative, state-approved search engines and services like Baidu.
In late January, Google's China homepage had a similar brief moment of accessibility, which lasted about three days. The brief unblocking occurred a week after Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, made comments on censorship at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he proposed encryption as a solution to opening up countries with strict censorship laws.
Google has taken a firm stance on censorship and refused to self-censor its products at the request of the government, effectively ending its venture into the Chinese market.
The Mountain View, California, company hadn't responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.