Google is following Twitter’s lead in introducing a country-by-country blocking system for its Blogger blogs.
Its first step is to introduce a country-specific URL system, so that URLs for the blogs redirect to country-code top level domains (TLDs).
“For example, if you’re in Australia and viewing [blogname].blogspot.com, you might be redirected [blogname].blogspot.com.au. A ccTLD, when it appears, corresponds with the country of the reader’s current location,” it explains on one of the company’s support forums.
What this means is that, like Twitter, Google will be able to remove content in some countries, without getting rid of it altogether.
“Migrating to localized domains will allow us to continue promoting free expression and responsible publishing while providing greater flexibility in complying with valid removal requests pursuant to local law,” it says.
“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.”
Users, it says, won’t see any difference in their blogs, and the company’s trying to make sure search results won’t be affected too much.
Twitter’s faced severe criticism for its move, from people concerned that it will encourage repressive regimes to make more takedown requests.
There’s no word from Google as to whether the change will be applied more widely in future, or whether it will only affect Blogger. The changeover will take place over the next few weeks.