Google Drive Already Blocked in China, Never Stood a Chance

Steven Millward
1:00 pm on Apr 25, 2012

Google Drive has just launched. Google Drive is blocked in China. Because we’re talking about the Great Firewall here, those two statements are not a kind of non sequitur. Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) long-awaited file storage platform launched just a few hours ago, but it is dead in the water in China, apparently totally inaccessible.

It’s not clear if this is a domain block on or that the range of servers used for Drive is the same as those for other Google products that are long-since blocked here, such as Google Docs. Indeed, when I tried to load the Drive homepage in my desktop Chrome browser, I got the message “Google Docs: The app is currently unreachable.” So at least Chrome thinks that Drive is a part of the Google Docs web app that I have installed in Chrome. On other browsers, and on my phone, I just get a conventional ‘web page not available’ error, as pictured here:

(See also: Here’s a list of websites blocked in China)

Doing a ‘traceroute’ on that domain (see the screenshot) reveals that “ has multiple addresses” and that the one I was assigned automatically showed no sign of life on the Chinternet. It’s entirely possible that Drive could work for someone in China if they could find one of its servers that’s not blocked, and then configure a web proxy to use only that one.

The circumstances of this block seem a bit different to the last major Google product to launch and then get slammed by the Great Firewall – Google Plus. On that occasion, the new social network worked fine for a few short days in China, before most of its servers got whacked. With G+, there was not necessarily a blanket subdomain block as it would sometimes work, until it finally got throttled to death.

Chinese web users who need a bit of cloud backup in their lives have, of course, plenty of local alternatives to try, such as Shanda’s Everbox or Baidu’s new WangPan from a couple of local web giants, or the startups or Kanbox, to name but four. But, as for Google Drive, the choice has been made for people once again.

  • chinese_ninja

    Beside controlling all avenues of censorship for political sustainability, protectionism of pseudo-private and state-owned enterprises for personal wealth among the Politburo elites (trickling down the chain of commands) IS the unspoken drive behind blocking Google Drive…

    here in China, even something as simple as securing a position as a music teacher at a local elementary school means giving ~US$10,000 to school officials… that’s a lot money for Chinese laymen standards… without handing out such allowances, there is very little chance of being hired, unless you are: 1) a family member of the school principal 2) exceptionally talented with potential of enhancing the school’s reputation, hence their funding.

    like most start-up enterprises in the Mainland, local and foreign… making hefty under the table payments to bureaucratic officials holding their red tape is the way of business and life… all Chinese citizens of cognizant of this unspoken rule… and they helplessly bitter about this millennium-old custom that started way before the earliest imperial dynasties.

    the big three (Baidu, Sina, and Tencent) are paying an exceptional amount to the right people, as well as the right time (most mover advantage)… they have secured powerful silent partners that are capable of silencing rivals… imagine what the big three is paying when a aspiring teacher from rural China mustered 10 grand for god knows where…

    as long as this corruption goes on, and more importantly, Google continue not to succumb to astronomical bribery to make local players appear cheap, we can continue to expect to see SMS on our Weixing that G-whatever is still blocked by the Great Firewall.

  • greg rhame

    ive used both baidu drive, and google drive, and i think the baidu one is better. considering the kinds of stuff that google does in China, theyre lucky that the google search isnt blocked. in any case, i am happy for China, because now it can develop its own cloud service and create some independence, something the imperialists absolutely hate. and i am glad the Chinese govt is deciding to block google drive, unlike the corrupt governments of the west of the world who allow themselves to be dominated by western multinationals. China isnt perfect, but this time, theyve actually done something right.

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