If you didn’t already know, China is a little cut off from the rest of the world in terms of online communications. Most of the biggest websites that we take for granted are blocked for general use by “The Great Firewall” of China; Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Yahoo, and all Google products (Gmail, Maps, Docs etc.), to name a few.
But, like the Mongols taking on the other great wall that surrounds China many years ago, there are sometimes weak points at which the “enemy” can break through. Of course, we’re not seriously comparing Google to the bloodthirsty Mongol hoards, but it makes for a nice metaphoric comparison. Google broke through the firewall surrounding China and became available there for nearly two whole hours.
China blocking some of the biggest websites in the world has been a long-standing problem for those involved in the digital world – anywhere from digital marketing to communications – as China’s huge online population offers massive opportunities for Internet businesses. There are ways around this of course, with China having their own equivalents to Facebook and the like, but access to the bigger sites would allow much easier communication with a very large market.
Now, don’t get your hopes up. Google haven’t got a team of hackers trying to infiltrate the Chinese firewall (not that we know of, at least). It was a complete accident that allowed this to happen. Obviously, we’re not fully up to speed with the ins and outs of Chinese propaganda law, but it seems that during the implementation of some new IP servers in Asia, Google briefly managed to break through the restrictions. It was quickly shut down again, meaning there really is no hope of other websites making their way through anytime soon.
For the time being, businesses will still need to jump through hoops with the dexterity of a Chinese gymnast in order to do business with companies and people in China.
We’re not sure how the people of China reacted to being able to bask in the glory of our favourite search engine though, as none of them seem to be on Facebook or Twitter.