Google from behind the Great Firewall

I was wondering why Tinyletter would show this very useless screen, upon clicking the link in the email address confirmation message:

During my last visit to China, internet access had been a challenge and this time, I got myself a cute little wifi access point, an affordable airport rental.

Signal is pretty good, and I’m checking my email and using maps (marginally better in China on iOS 6, by the way!) while on the subway. Everything is dramatically slow but functional. FaceTime even works (although I only succeeded in taking an incoming call, but couldn’t place any myself).

However, this is still the internet from within the Great Firewall. And right now, while Gmail access has been restored, Google itself (the search engine) is still blocked, as are Facebook, Twitter (including the URL shortener, and Bitly.

And TinyLetter is in fact using a captcha supplied by Google, hosted on the banned domain Here’s what it’s supposed to look like:

Now this makes sense.

Site and app makers: if you want to be reliable in China, make sure to host your libraries yourselves. You never know when the country’s censors will take down a site you were relying on, and all those libraries and social media widgets will just refuse to load until they timeout, rather than spit out an immediate error.

This entry was posted in China. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.