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Google Stumbles, Again, With China Outage Report

Google’s Chinese web-censorship monitoring page reported Thursday that its unfiltered Chinese search site had been blocked again, prompting eager news organizations, including Reuters, the Associated Press and, to report the news widely.

Fortunately for Chinese web users, there was no such general block, as was quickly reported through Twitter. Google retracted its outage report, saying that “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.”

That’d be fine if the dashboard were reporting the general availability of, say, Google Voice.

But Google built this public page to reflect the status of the most important geopolitical issue facing what’s become the most important technology company in the world. Reporting that China had blocked uncensored search again, just weeks after successfully finagling a renewal of its operating license in China, is simply mind-boggling.

In its defense, Google says this kind of monitoring is hard to do, that it quickly rectified the error, and that it created the dashboard to be transparent with the press and public.

That’s understandable, and Google is now a sprawling, massive company with $25 billion a year in revenues, tens of thousands of employees, and more products and initiatives than most anyone can keep track of.

That said, Google has made a string of embarrassing mistakes and politically damaging moves over the past six months or so that reflect poorly on the company.
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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ChrisTWL, tcpflorida, Cory Blomenkamp, Josh, Tom Gowing and others. Tom Gowing said: Review: Google Stumbles, Again, With China Outage Report – […]

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