Thursday, June 30, 2011

Google+ Blocked in China

[UPDATE: Information below is from 2011. More recent post (January 2012) on access to Google+ and other websites in China can be found here: Not Black & White: Access in China to Amazon, Facebook, Google+, Windows Live, Yahoo! and More.

7 previous updates are at end of this post.]

TechCrunch is reporting that the new service Google+ is already blocked in China:
"That didn’t take long. Tons of people haven’t even gained access to the Google+ field trial yet, but that hasn’t stopped Chinese authorities from blocking Google’s brand new social networking project, reports Ren Media.

Indeed, Just Ping and the website both confirm that is not accessible from mainland China."
I just checked from Shanghai, China and it is indeed blocked.  But there are many ways that Internet sites can be blocked in China and this appears to be a case of DNS (Domain Name System) tampering.  This is one of the easiest forms of blocking to get around.  If you're not familiar with China's Great Firewall see here and if your not familiar with DNS see here.  For more details on DNS tampering in China, sometimes referred to as the "Great DNS Wall of China", see here and this paper by a group at NYU here.

As long I wasn't using a local DNS server (which is easy to switch) I was able to go to Google+ and explore it with not apparent problems.

Here is the Google+ home page as seen in China using a "good" DNS server:

Here is the login page:

Here I'm being told it's just a field trial but I can leave an email address for them to contact me later:

And here is where I can provide my contact information:

Unfortunately, I can't test whether the actual service is similarly blocked only through DNS tampering since I don't have an invite.

Does this get me one?

UPDATE: I've received an invite.  I'll do another post if I notice anything curious specific to access in China.

UPDATE 2:  Google+ now not blocked and I have full access.  There are still DNS issues, though.  See here for details on my latest experience: 

UPDATE 3:  Around 9:30 pm on July 5, I was not able to access Google+ through a local DNS server.  See here for more:

UPDATE 4:  Around 2am on July 6, the situation remains the same.  I was not able to access Google+ through a local DNS server.  However, as before, after switching to a non-Chinese DNS server I could access Google+.

UPDATE 5:  Around 11:30pm on July 6, I was able to access Google+ while using a local DNS server.  More here.

Added note: The Shanghaiist here earlier on Wednesday also noted that Google+ was blocked in China.  At that time...

UPDATE 6: Between 3-4pm on July 7, Google+ is once again "DNS-blocked" using a local DNS server in Shanghai, China.  I tested on multiple browsers in two different locations with the same results.  Again, switching to a non-Chinese DNS server resolves the problem.

UPDATE 7:  Any future updates will be placed here:  "Access to Google+ in China".


  1. Why are you so sure you are accessing the genuine Google+ website? DNS tampering might be the MacGuffin that is used to convince you that the fake you are looking at is genuine!

  2. MicEdwards, I appreciate your concern/skepticism/suspicion. The http address looked good and the security certificate fully checked out. I think all was good there.