Google on Thursday tuned its search engine in mainland China to tip people off when they try to use characters that evidently prompt censors to derail queries.
The change resulted from complaints that Google search service in China was inconsistent or unreliable, according to Google senior vice president of knowledge Alan Eustace.
"We've taken a long, hard look at our systems and have not found any problems," Eustace said in a blog post.
"However, after digging into user reports, we've noticed that these interruptions are closely correlated with searches for a particular subset of queries."
Popup messages tell users in China when they enter query keywords that may cause "connection issues," according to Eustace.
The California-based Internet giant does not suggest alternative search terms. It is left to users, if they are so inclined, to come up with alternative characters or words to continue Internet searches.
"By prompting people to revise their queries, we hope to reduce these disruptions and improve our user experience from mainland China," Eustace said.
"Of course, if users want to press ahead with their original queries they can carry on."
Explore further: Twitter working with probe on online threats