All of us who use Google within China noticed it. Gmail would misbehave - sometimes resetting or not loading. Sometimes it worked okay. Android devices using Google services would sometimes misbehave. At other times, they would work okay. Then, around the end of May, direct Google access was fully shut off within the People's Republic of China. Suspicions were that the authorities did not want the Chinese to access information about the slaughter of protesters around Tianamen Square on June 3rd and 4th, 1989. Google's policy is to let searchers find most things on the internet, except for a very short list of obviously harmful content (computer viruses and malware, child porn, and so forth). Well, that is way too open for the Chinese, who want to control ALL information available within the PRC.
Google is still quite accessible within China, and censorship efforts are failing to the extent that people are willing to use technology to protect their freedoms.
As to uncensored Google searches, restoring access is as easy as stinky tofu. Volunteers are setting up Google mirrors on domains that the Chinese will not block. They have a large compelling interest in keeping accessible on the mainland. Topping the list is Amazon.com, worth billions of RMB in yearly Chinese commerce. No, they will not block Amazon any time soon. Thus, mirrors set up there and secured by SSL (HTTPS pages) are safe to use:
While you're exploring the new and wide open world of sites unblocked using principles of Collateral Freedom, take a look at Freeweibo and Freeweibo2. There's even a new and unblockable mirror of the China Digital Times! Pao-Pao is unblocked and available as well.
Millions of smart phones in China use the Android operating system, and have been impaired by the Google blockage. Updates, searches, and other functions simply stopped working. Many users experienced increased battery drain as devices wasted power trying to access Google servers blocked by the GFW. Windows, Mac, Chrome, and Linux computers have simply not had full access to Google, but haven't seen impairment to the levels seen on Android devices.
Good news is that Google access from China can be restored by editing the hosts file. The hosts file works system-wide on a device, directing traffic for certain dommains to specific IP addresses. For example, annoying advertising sites can be blocked by directing them internally to 127.0.0.1, while Google can be unblocked using an IP like 184.108.40.206. Here is where to find the hosts file:
HOSTS FILE LOCATIONS ANDROID DEVICES: /system/etc/hosts WINDOWS SYSTEMS: C:\windows\system32\driverstc\hosts or %systemroot%\system32\driverstc\hosts LINUX SYSTEMS: /etc/hosts MACINTOSH STSTEMS: /private/etc/hosts or /etc/hosts
The following list should be copied and pasted into the hosts file to restore access to Google from China:
220.127.116.11 apps.google.com 18.104.22.168 books.google.com 22.214.171.124 drive.google.com 126.96.36.199 0.drive.google.com 188.8.131.52 1.drive.google.com 184.108.40.206 2.drive.google.com 220.127.116.11 3.drive.google.com 18.104.22.168 4.drive.google.com 22.214.171.124 5.drive.google.com 126.96.36.199 groups.google.com 188.8.131.52 play.google.com 184.108.40.206 scholar.google.com 220.127.116.11 mail.google.com 18.104.22.168 www.google.com 22.214.171.124 google.com.hk 126.96.36.199 google.com.hk 188.8.131.52 www.youtube.com 184.108.40.206 youtube.com