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Google Blocks Services in Some Countries

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Google is reportedly blocking use of it’s Chrome browser (among other applications like Google Talk and Gmail Notifier)  in some countries with which the United States has economic sanctions and export controls with. "We are unable to permit the download of Google Chrome in Cuba, Syria, North Korea, Iran, and Sudan," says a Google Spokesperson.

John Dowdell at Adobe discovered that they play by the same rules, pointing to the Adobe Terms of Use page, and confirming that Google’s not alone in this practice.

Jessica Dheere at PBS.org has a detailed look at the Google situation, but also points out something even more interesting than the blocking of Google’s services:

Another curious aspect of this is that though Google blocks Syrians and Iranians from accessing these programs, it still serves them ads. According to Sadeq [a Syrian blogger] , Google AdWords ads appear on websites and blogs in Iran just as they do elsewhere. Sadeq double-checked that this was the case and that clicking through didn’t pose any problems. "Moreover," he said, "I don’t think there is a problem in setting up an [AdSense] account for one’s blog/website (I tried it once in my blog)."

How did he set up the AdSense account? When asked what country he was from, he simply chose Lebanon because Iran wasn’t an option. The account was easily set up that way.

Well isn’t that convenient? With Google’s aggressive push of advertising services, it’s not very surprising that there is still a loophole to get people signed up for that. Google is getting ads everywhere it can. See the pending Yahoo! deal. See the NBC deal. See the new YouTube search ads. See the mobile push. See Google Maps. Etc. Etc. Etc.

According to Dheere, regulations suggest that ads from U.S. parties would be ok to show in these countries, but marketing services would be prohibited. AdWords is a service, is it not? The question is whether or not Google is abiding by these regulations. The removal of the countries from the drop down list would suggest an effort to abide, but the ease with which users in said countries are able to sign up for AdWords would indicate either a flaw in the system or an ignored loophole. I don’t want to make any accusations, but it’s a curious situation.

Google Blocks Services in Some Countries
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  • http://readerszone.com/google/google-services-are-not-available-in-all-countries.html Ajay Pathak

    after blocking services in these countries and even after that users are able to access these services then google has to do something

    removing the name of country may not solve the problem.

  • Chris Crum

    It would be a shame if they had to pay fines for people in Iran selecting other countries from the drop down menu and gaining access.

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