Can Google Reader scale the Great Firewall of China?

Jeremiah Owyang is on a trip to China at the moment. He put up a post on his blog the other day saying he couldn’t access Robert Scoble’s blog from inside China – it seems to be blocked by the Great Firewall of China for some reason. I don’t know if this applies to all accounts or just Robert’s.

In any case, it occurred to me this morning that if I Shared all of Robert’s posts from within my Google Reader account and sent Jeremiah the links to my Google Reader Shared items, he should be able to read Robert’s posts within China.

Of course if Google Reader had a way to allow you to select multiple posts to share (or even allowed you to share a full feed) then this would make it easier for me to keep Jeremiah up to date!

Until China starts blocking Google Reader!

11 thoughts on “Can Google Reader scale the Great Firewall of China?”

  1. I had someone from China email me about being unable to access my blog at one point as well. I sent him back the link to my Feedburner RSS “Smart feed” – which of course renders as a web page when viewed with a browser. As far as I know he could read my blog just fine that way.

  2. Great idea Ryan!

    Unfortunately I don’t think Robert Scoble uses Feedburner but for people who do it is a nifty way around the Firewall.

  3. I’m in China myself and I have no problem accessing his blog. The great firewall of China has on many occasions blocked sites that I take an interest in however either through using Google Reader, TOR or Privoxy I don’t have any problems apart from the obvious speed issue through using the Onion Network.

    Strange as this may sound, ISP’s in China regularly block content that they deem inappropriate. My own Chinese ISP stopped me accessing my own website however a seperate Chinese ISP had no problem with what I was hosting…strange huh? It seems that we can’t blame everything on those great Cisco routers that the PRC has.

  4. Valehru,

    the ISPs, as you say, are equally likely to be blocking Jeremiah’s access, good point.

    However, if you try to read the content through Google Reader directly, that would still be coming from the original source and would be blocked by the ISP.

    What I have done is added Robert’s recent posts to my Share folder which has an address of its own and thus may well be available to Jeremiah. I haven’t heard back from him yet but, if it worked, it’d be an interesting way around the Firewall/ISPs blocking.

  5. Thankfully Google Reader is not yet blocked. It helps me currently get by my companies firewall and if it can do that then the Great Firewall of China should be no bother.

    Although, did you know that Google video is currently not allowed to broadcast in China, however Youtube is. Mind boggeling stuff whoever thinks up reasons why things must be blocked in the PRC must be smoking some funky shit…

  6. Tom,

    That’s a great idea. The concept of China blocking certain portions of the Internet makes me want to go over there just to see if circumventing their protection is possible. Your technique is pretty sneaky, something I probably would have never thought of.

    Matt Cutts recently said that even if Google doesn’t always answer, they do listen. Make your suggestion on Google groups, or send an email to the Google Reader team. I’m sure they’ll at least consider your suggestion regarding multiple post sharing :). Keep up the great posts.

  7. Yep, I agree Tom. Another thing – what if Google have the time – they might even consider developing a mirror system or some other IP related solution to solve the chinese firewall problem.

    Education and more education – people in government should not be able to make decisions/laws before they are educated on the subject first. I can’t see a difference between Google Video and the content from YouTube!

  8. You got a lot of nerve man. I read your post and contribute to the discussion, add unique, relevant content to your site, even subscribed to the post so I would receive notifications of followup comments to maybe continue the discussion, yet your remove my backlink? That’s a cowardly thing to do to your visitors – gonna sensor me like i’m a spam bot? Fight spam not visitors .. you’ve lost this one.

  9. @Nullamatix – I have answered this by private email to you but just so others can also get an answer –

    I removed the link because you left as your name “Technology made simple” – that’s a really unlikely name, let’s be honest.

    Because spammers are now employing humans to do their spamming for them, I have had to resort to removing links from any comments which have suspicious names filled in.

    You want to have your backlink show up on my site? Fill in your real name in the Name field.

  10. Understood…the whole thing about the names and the spamming. I am faced with the same problem on my blog. It is one thing to link and another to polute content with irrelevant links with anchors. On the other hand. If someone does put in efort to write a comment and cotribute to the the discussion…should he be considered a spammer?

  11. agree with the spamming point above. Back to our issue…Now with the Olympics the Chinese have relaxed their firewall restrictions a bit due to the many foreign people that are visiting the country. A friend of mine that is in China now have verified this. Many websites that were blocked are now open.

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