updated 12:25 pm EST, Fri November 9, 2012
Google, Gmail, Analytics, Docs, Drive all down
The Chinese government blocked access to Google and the search giant's services today, according to GreatFire.org, which monitors online censorship in China. The move is the first time China has blocked http://www.google.com since the site began tracking online censorship in China in February of 2011. The block affects the main Google home page, Gmail, Google Analytics, Google Drive and Docs, Google Maps, Google's Play Store, and perhaps many more Google services. Attempts to reach these sites from within China reportedly send users to the IP 188.8.131.52, which is located in Korea and doesn't serve any website.
According to GreatFire, users can still access other countries' versions of Google. Using a DNS server outside of China reportedly does not help, though.
The outage is the second major blockage for Google in China after a 2010 block had the site down for about 10 hours. It comes as China's Communist Party is holding its 18th Party Congress, in which it will choose its next round leaders. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is expected to ascend to the top spot in the Chinese Communist Party, a position he will occupy for 10 years. Observers note that the concurrent blocking of Google -- which is one of the top five most used sites in China, while still lagging behind Baidu in terms of search volume -- may be indicative of the future of information freedom in China.