Google confounded both the Chinese government and the tech world at large by splitting the difference in its public conflict, moving its Chinese operations to Hong Kong and making good on a January pledge to stop censoring search results on behalf of the government.
Google senior vice president David Drummond wrote in a blog post that "we believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we’ve faced – it’s entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China." Drummond also said that the Chinese government’s inflexibility left the company with no other options.
The company now maintains a webpage where users can find important information about the availability of various Google services within the People’s Republic. As of Tuesday at noon EST, YouTube, Google Sites, and Blogger were all blocked, while some features of Picasa, Google Groups, and Google Docs were also offline.
The move is sure to make things complicated for search engine optimization (SEO) professionals targeting the Chinese market, but the absence of a full-fledged pull-out is certainly reason enough for cheer.