Google officials denied the search engine's March 22 decision to shutter its Chinese search engine was to blame for an outage to video-sharing site YouTube. YouTube went down from about 7 a.m. EST to 8 a.m. EST. Users who tried to access the site during that time saw the message "Http/1.1 Service Unavailable" from YouTube's main page. The brief outage spurred speculation that YouTube was the victim of a political-oriented hack because it came only four days after Google closed its Google.cn search engine and rerouted users to its Google.hk search site.
Google officials denied the search engine's
its Chinese search engine was to blame for an outage to video-sharing
site YouTube March 25.
YouTube, into which users pour 24 hours of video every minute,
went down from about 7 a.m. EST to 9 a.m. EST. Users who tried to
access the site during that time saw the message "Http/1.1 Service
Unavailable" from YouTube's main page.
However, while Google is generally forthcoming about
reasons for outages to its applications, a YouTube spokesperson told eWEEK only
"YouTube is up again following a technical issue
which has now been resolved. We know how important YouTube is for people and
apologize for any inconvenience the downtime may have caused."
The brief outage spurred speculation that YouTube was the
victim of a political-oriented hack because it came only four days after Google
closed its Google.cn search engine and rerouted users to its Google.hk search
site March 22.
Google felt it was the only recourse
to circumvent censorship by the Chinese government on Google.cn after
it failed to resolve the issue of a widespread hack on its users' Gmail
accounts. U.S. Congress praised
Google's decision and denounced Microsoft for failing to take such an
Many believe the Chinese government would move to punish
Google in some way for its deliberate end run around its censorship rules.
Others feel citizens upset with Google's direct challenge to the Chinese
government's authority could take matters into their own hands by disrupting
Google's Web services.
However, the YouTube outage is more likely the work of a
technical error than a state-sponsored or lone wolf citizen hack. Whatever the
case, YouTube is certainly not available in China, and neither is Google's Blogger
or Google Sites Website publishing application.
According to a new applications dashboard Google created
in mainland China, YouTube, Blogger and Google Sites have
been unavailable there for the last week.
This isn't the first time the finger has been pointed at
China over something amiss on Google's Web sites.
Earlier this week users
searching "Google executives" through Google were given
result entitled "Corporate Information - Google Management" that took
them to a page with the biographic information of top executives displayed in
The Guardian also discovered the page
http://www.google.com/corporate/ being displayed in Chinese and directing
visitors to the new, uncensored version of Google aimed at Chinese users. While
some believed this was a hack, Google officials said this was a bug.
Unfortunately, in light of the tensions between Google
and China, expect conspiracy theories to continue to fly that China is
responsible for any outage on Google applications.