Russia blocked Google briefly, but don’t panic

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Russian authorities blocked Google for about three hours on Thursday. 

And while this may seem like a familiar story — another instance of an authoritarian government blocking major internet sites — this brief Google blockage may have been a true blip, according to The Moscow Times

Roskomnadzor, an internet regulator that controls the flow of mass communication and information technology in Russia, reportedly blocked Google because the search engine still offered users a link to a bookmaker currently in a legal battle with the Russian government. Google erased the referring link, and Russians could again access the site. 

The dispute is reportedly the result of a technicality, rather than an actual fight with Google. But the Russian government has fought with the search engine before. 

Google agreed to pay the equivalent of $7.8 million earlier this year to settle a lawsuit in which the search company agreed to allow apps from rival companies to be pre-installed on the home screen of phones constructed with Google’s Android software. The agreement came about after a Google competitor in Russia, Yandex, complained that installing Google apps on Android phones gave Google an unfair advantage. Google must now make sure its browser, Chrome, allows users to change to the Yandex search engine. 

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