Under normal circumstances, the above headline would hardly constitute news, but in light of the considerable resources spent last month by China convincing us that a crackdown on foreign internet maps in China was imminent, it is worth reporting that more than a week past the announced blocking date, Google Earth and Google Maps are still as accessible as ever in China.
Kudos to an “old China hand” friend who predicted that the original decree was likely just bluster, meant to intimidate local neogeography enthusiasts and appease domestic GIS providers, without much thought to actually implementing the decree by bolstering the Great Firewall to filter out Google (and others’) foreign mapping servers.
I, on the other hand, had been taking Chinese government pronouncements at face value. In the meantime, the desired outcome is uncertainty — if you’re a Chinese web developer about to embark on the development of a new China-oriented website, would you use Google Maps or a local Chinese provider for your mapping solution today? Exactly.