February 7, 2012

Why Google is redirecting your Blogger blogs to blogspot.in address

Google is now redirecting all blogspot.com blogs in India to a different blogspot.in address.

 The change is live in India but Google, according to this support page, is planning to take a similar approach in other countries as well. So a blog like abc.blogspot.com could redirect to abc.blogspot.com.pk for a visitor in Pakistan or to abc.blogspot.sg when viewed from Singapore.

So why is Google switching to country-specific blogspot.com URLs? The answer is simple – this gives them the ability to censor (or remove) content hosted on Blogger country-wise.

By utilizing ccTLDs, content removals can be managed on a per country basis, which will limit their impact to the smallest number of readers. Content removed due to a specific country’s law will only be removed from the relevant ccTLD.

For instance, if the Indian government (or court) orders Google India to remove offensive content from a blog hosted at abc.blogspot.com, Google can simply block those pages in India while they’ll continue to be available in other parts of the world.

 This looks like a good approach though I wonder if the recent demands from Indian ministers to pre-screen content have forced Google to implement such a solution. The courts and the other law enforcement agencies in India sent Blogger a total of 39 content removal requests in the first half on 2011 according to Google’s transparency report.