One in four countries block Google’s services, said the company’s vice president of global communications in a recent blog post.
Out of the 100 countries that Google offers its services to, 25 block or otherwise censor it. Google maintains that it is devoted to protecting the freedom of expression, though it does comply with governments when content breaches certain national laws. Even at that, Google tries to restrict as little as possible, while remaining transparent to its users.
"Censorship of the web is a growing problem. According to the Open Net Initiative, the number of governments that censor has grown from about four in 2002 to over 40 today. In fact, some governments are now blocking content before it even reaches their citizens. Even benign intentions can result in the specter of real censorship," said Rachel Whetstone, Google’s vice president of global communications.
Google offers a huge library of services, ranging from tools like Google Docs and search to social platforms like Blogger and YouTube.
Earlier this year, controversy erupted as Google refused to censor its search results in China. This led to China blocking the site temporarily, and Google rerouting all requests to its Hong Kong domain. According to the UK-based tech site The Register, Google’s pull-out radically altered search engine optimization (SEO) in the country.