Five facts about Google’s content filtering announcement
Less than a week after a similar move by micro-blogging site Twitter, Internet major Google has unveiled plans to make content on its blogger platform selectively available, depending on the local rules of each country. Here are the Top Five facts you should know on Google’s move:
- What is it? Google has announced it will start redirecting visitors from certain countries to country specific websites. For example, Indian visitors to blogname.blogspot.com may be redirected to blogname.blogspot.in.
- Why? This can be seen as a direct response to requests from governments across the world urging Google to filter content they deem objectionable. Having this redirection in place would allow Google to stop people from a particular country accessing specific websites without impacting users in other countries.
- How does it work? For example, if the Indian government finds the content at blogname.blogspot.com/post.html objectionable, it may approach Google and have it blocked for access via the blogname.blogspot.in domain. With all traffic coming from India automatically redirected, this means even if someone from India tries to visit blogname.blogspot.com/post.html directly, they will not be able to see the blocked content (subject to the workarounds mentioned below).
- What services are impacted? While all details aren’t available yet, it seems this ‘initiative’ is limited to Google’s blogging platform. Other services like Orkut or Google Plus do not seem impacted at this stage, though that might change at a later date. Also, websites with a custom URL e.g. www.myblog.com hosted using the Blogger platform will remain unaffected.
- Workarounds: Visitors can see the US version of any blog by visiting blogname.blogspot.in/ncr. NCR stands for No Country Redirect and can be used across all Google properties to view the US version of the site instead of the local one. With Google providing the block as well as the work around, it remains to be seen how happy the governments would be with this measure.