If this were any other country you wouldn’t believe it but the Great Firewall of China has started re-directing traffic from the three major search engines (Yahoo!, Live.com and Google) to the Chinese owned search engine Baidu.com!
Other sites such as YouTube.com and Google’s BlogSearch are reportedly also being re-directed.
China has previously blocked sites like WordPress.com but this is the first report of it re-directing to a Chinese competitor.
I’ll bet the guys in Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft who bent over backwards to facilitate the Chinese governments censorship of Chinese Internet traffic (even to the point of Yahoo!’s handing over evidence which imprisoned a Chinese reporter for 10 years) are feeling pretty dumb now. If they don’t, they should.
This end result for people living in China is that their choice of search engine has now disappeared and the Chinese government only has to worry about controlling the results one search engine displays. A sad day for Internet freedoms in China.
Of course, it will also hit the income stream for Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! but given that they lay down with the Chinese government, I have a real hard time feeling sorry for them.
UPDATE – conflicting reports are emerging about this story, some are reporting that the story is untrue however, search engine expert Danny Sullivan has received confirmation from Google that there are problems with some of their services in China.