Google and China

They’re not the best of friends.

China isn’t a free country, many things that we take for granted here are not permitted in China, the main one for me is freedom to browse the internet. Popular ‘Western’ sites such as Facebook and Youtube are blocked, alongside Google and most Google services. How do they do this? Not only does China have a great wall, it also has a great firewall that just doesn’t let you onto these sites.

It will be annoying in China, how will I be able to find cute gifs of panda bears without google?

Although a brilliant tool, I feel that as a company Google has a lot of information about a lot of people. It knows my most visited sites, where to find pictures of me and probably knows my high score on Tetris, too. For this new blog I activated Google Analytics and the statistics are amazing. I now know that the average visit duration to my blog is 4 minutes 38 seconds and there is a pie chart showing new and returning visitors. I can even see what mobile devices people have used to read my blog (9 iPhone users) and which city they are reading from (I have a lot of local support from Coventry, thanks Cov kids!). Do you not think it’s just a bit too much information? Google has all this stored somewhere and so much more that we probably don’t realise. Don’t forget that with street view it also has pictures of your house and any animal statues you might have in your front garden.

It will be nice to have a break from the instant access to finding out things and the challenge of using other resources. I’m a big fan of actual maps rather than the Google version, when I was travelling as part of a group of eight girls in South America I was often the dedicated map reader. I’m also not afraid of getting lost in new cities and prefer finding a friendly local to ask for directions than whipping out the smartphone and Google telling me the way and how many minutes it should take me to walk from A to B.

Having internet censorship on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc will hopefully encourage me to find other forms of entertainment and interact with Chinese people and other exchange students rather than read what my old flatmate’s having for breakfast. So although it will be a big change, I am willing and ready to embrace it. China, I’m ready for you.


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