Some articles covered Google+ as if its censorship was already certain, citing anonymous Twitter reports and mainland China monitoring services. The IBT used the opportunity to reflect upon previous Internet censorship in China. However, by June 30th, Steven Millward at Penn Olson wrote an article stating that Google+ was accessible, but very slow for him in mainland China. Shanghaiist also reported that Google+ was slow, and that Just Ping and Great Firewall of China were giving mixed results.
So was Google+ blocked? Reports have been mixed, but it looks like the initial glut of articles may have incorrectly attributed what were merely slow loading times and intermittent outages (common to many international websites in China) to blocking. Also, Chinese ping sites like Just Ping and GreatFirewall can incorrectly report sites as inaccessible due to technical problems. It’s possible, though unconfirmed, that the incredibly slow loading times are due to throttling, a method that the Chinese government may use to discourage users from relying on international websites. So maybe Google+ wasn’t blocked on launch – but it’s hard to draw any conclusions.
So far, Herdict has only a couple of reports on Google+ from China – one marking it as accessible on June 30th, and one inaccessible on July 3rd. Local bloggers that could previously access Google+ are now reporting that local DNS servers do not resolve it. So it’s possible that the answer to “was Google+ blocked?” is “wasn’t last week, but it is now.” As always, we encourage our readers to report, so we can determine accessibility.
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