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Google: 'Small Blockage' in China

Google confirmed that after a small blockage in its China search site last night, users in China appear to be accessing the site normally.

Google/China story updated with a response from Google.



) --


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said that the message that surfaced on its Web site late Thursday evening stating that its China Internet services were fully blocked was probably overstated, due to a technical glitch.

"Because of the way we measure accessibility in China, it's possible that our machines could overestimate the level of blockage," said a Google spokeswoman in an e-mailed response to


. "That seems to be what happened last night when there was a relatively small blockage

in China."

The message posted on Google's Web site earlier had said that some of its services in mainland China were fully blocked. After media reports of the "full" blockage hit wires around dinnertime Thursday, Google shares plunged nearly 2% to $477.25 in afterhours trading on concerns of Google's tenuous position in China.

The Internet giant has struggled with the Asian government since January, when Google

threatened to leave China

in a dispute over censorship, placing Chinese rival


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firmly in the spotlight


Blockage of Google's site by China could mark another setback in relations between the two, whose rapport seemed to be improving over the past few weeks.

Earlier this month,

Google reported that its Internet license to operate in China was renewed

. And just last week,


said that China was satisfied with the tweaks Google made to the way it was directing users to an unfiltered search page.

Shortly before 11 p.m. ET on Thursday, Google said its China search was back up and running. "It appears now that users in China are accessing our properties normally," said the spokeswoman.

Shares of Google were recovering some of their losses; its stock was down 1% to about $480.12 in afterhours trading. Shares of Google's main Chinese rival Baidu, which holds about 60% of China's search market, were rising more slowly than earlier, about 1.52% to $80.40.

-- Reported by James Rogers and Maggie Overfelt in New York


James Rogers


Maggie Overfelt