Google’s new question and answer site for people in China is not off to a great start. Although the site was based in Hong Kong for the sake of avoiding problems related to censorship, would-be users have been unable to access it today.
As you probably guessed, all signs indicate that the Chinese government is to blame. Melanie Lee reported earlier this morning that some of the user-generated questions appearing on the site concerned touchy subjects like Tiananmen Square and the Cantonese language.
Also, a Google spokesperson told Lee, "If you are noticing there is a blockage you would need to ask the government as it would be an issue at their end."
So it looks like the launch of the site, which occurred less than a month ago, may largely amount to wasted effort on Google’s part. And at this point, it almost seems that Chinese authorities are toying with the search giant, granting it an Internet Content Provider license one month and cracking down again the next.
Anyway, the Chinese government has stayed mum on the subject so far, neither confirming nor denying anything.
Interestingly, however, Google’s stock is up a tiny bit so far this morning compared to Baidu’s (they’re down 0.29 percent and 0.72 percent, respectively).