Google updates service tracker amid Egypt shutdown

Jan 29, 2011
An Internet blockade in Egypt inspired Google on Friday to provide an improved tool for tracking access to the firm's popular websites.

An Internet blockade in Egypt inspired Google on Friday to provide an improved tool for tracking access to the firm's popular websites.

A portion of a Transparency Report that charts worldwide patterns was modified to reflect conditions on the Web within the past four hours.

Prior to the change, the traffic tool launched late last year had a 30-hour delay.

"Given the recent interest in the availability of our services, we've reduced the time delay in the Traffic tool on our Transparency Report to less than four hours," the company said.

The roller coaster graph line for Egypt traffic to YouTube, Blogger, and other Google sites during the past two weeks plunged abruptly to zero on Thursday and was still there when checked by AFP at 2330 GMT on Friday.

According to Renesys, a US Internet monitoring company, Egypt's four main Internet service providers cut off international access to their customers in a near simultaneous move on Thursday.

"The Internet has been one of the greatest innovations of our lifetime because of the access to information it gives people around the world," Google chief legal officer David Drummond told Al-Jazeera news on Friday.

"We believe that access is a fundamental right, and it's very sad if it's denied to citizens of Egypt or any country."

The Egyptian government's unprecedented shutdown of Internet access in the face of massive anti-government protests came under fire on Friday from the White House, giants and digital rights groups.

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