Google’s rocky relationship with the Chinese government is under further strain after it emerged that the Android’s app store, Market, is unavailable for many users in China, with others reporting lag and time-out issues accessing the site.
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Blocked In China, a site which tests whether URLs are accessible across five major provinces in the country, confirms a blockage of market.android.com.
This isn’t the first time that Android Market has been inaccessible in China, mumours of discontent from disgruntled phone owners unable to access the store can be tracked as far back as 2009. As ever in China, despite the issues there are plenty of alternative options as TechRice outlines.
China’s local app stores, which are not blocked, remain the answer for any frustrated Android users, in fact they are the answer for almost ever Android user in China anyway. The local stores, which offer content for free, are used by many of China’s Android users given that most devices sold in the country are not synched to the official Android Market. Not ideal for Google, but it does at least limit the discontent amongst Android users.
While it could transpire that the issue is temporarily, the latest episode is a new source of frustration for Google in China. The company is already set to face fiercer competition in China’s mobile market with search rival Baidu planning an OS of its own, Qiushi, which is rumoured to be based on Android.
There are also reports that users are experiencing similar issues for Gmail and GoogleTalk, both of which have a chequered history in China with users regularly reporting issues. Earlier this year, the Chinese government was recently forced to deny fresh accusations that it had tried to access Gmail accounts belonging to senior US officials.
Google+, the Mountain View-based company’s recently launched social network, remains blocked in China, joining Twitter and Facebook on the so-called Great Firewall (GFW) black list.
Update: Android Market has been unblocked 3 days later after what Google describes as a “technical issue” was fixed.