For the latest, please see updates after the jump.
In the first step towards a now inevitable pull out, Google side-stepped the Chinese government's search strictures this morning, as the formerly censored Google China (Google.com.cn) now redirects to the uncensored Google Hong Kong (Google.com.hk).
From the Official Google Blog:
"Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong."
From Google's end at least, in the information equivalent of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, Google China users can now ostensibly search for previously censored terms like "Tianamen Square" and "Google China Censorship" and receive (for the moment) relatively uncensored results.
When asked how long the redirect would last before being blocked by the Chinese government or what exactly Chinese users see when they try to access Google.cn, our sources at Google said we'd have to wait at least until people in China started waking up (it's currently 4:18 a.m. in Shanghai) to know for sure.Screen caps from a U.S. based Google.cn search. Updates to come.
UPDATES (7:48 p.m. PDT)
Beijing-based Twitter user (and early riser) @niubi holds that the Google.com.hk site itself has not yet been blocked, only select searches.
However, it appears that mobile users can see unfiltered results by accessing http://www.google.cn/m and a source currently travelling in Guangzhou (Canton), China sent us the below email confirming the continuing ability to Google search terms like "Tianamen" from their hotel room .
It's my guess that these holes in the firewall are the result of a Chinese government scramble to grapple with the Internet can of worms Google unleashed this morning.
Nevertheless, we'll keep you posted.
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