Google has introduced an enhanced search experience in mainland China, or rather, a less frustrating one. Searches are often interrupted in China, the "Great Firewall" is the cause of most if not all.
Certain search terms are blocked and this could lead to a rather annoying experience since the connection to the site is reset and you can't go back to search for something else for a minute or so.
Google has created a database of the most common terms that are blocked and it now alerts users that their query may be blocked and that it may cause an interruption. They can go ahead and make the search, hoping that it will work, or go back and edit their query.
"Over the past couple years, we’ve had a lot of feedback that Google Search from mainland China can be inconsistent and unreliable," Google wrote.
"We’ve taken a long, hard look at our systems and have not found any problems. However, after digging into user reports, we’ve noticed that these interruptions are closely correlated with searches for a particular subset of queries," Google adds.
Of course, Google knows full well that there's nothing wrong with its search engine or infrastructure and that the interruptions are all caused by Chinese censorship, but it can't or won't outright say it in an official blog post.
"In order to figure out which keywords are causing problems, a team of engineers in the U.S. reviewed the 350,000 most popular search queries in China," Google explained.
Any time someone tries to do a search for a term that may be censored, they'll be notified. This happens if the entire query is on the ban list or just part of it, even only one character.
Google says its research revealed that even common Chinese characters will sometimes trigger the interruptions, for example 江, Jiāng, which stands for "river" will often cause problems.
Google also provides additional information when notifying users of the potential block as well as some possible workarounds, like using Latin characters instead of Chinese ones.
Google moved search out of mainland China a few years back citing censorship as a major concern. It started redirecting users to its Hong Kong search engine, which is not censored. However, even if the searches are no longer censored, the pages containing banned words or phrases will be blocked, leading to the interruptions.