Gmail has noted a slight increase in traffic from China, signaling an end to the service disruption which began several days ago.
While the amount of traffic is still significantly lower than before the blockage, it looks like new workarounds have been discovered and people will return to the service over the next few days.
China’s tight controls over all internet traffic results in the banning of foreign services every now and then. Gmail itself was originally blocked early this year, along with a host of other Google services. Many companies and individuals had continued to use the email service through third party applications, although recent events indicate that the workaround has been discovered and closed.
Government officials claim that they are not blocking Gmail, or any other Google service, and unaware that such a thing is happening. This is in direct contrast with the accusations from internet activist group GreatFire.org, who say that it is indeed the Great Firewall of China that is blocking outgoing connections to the Gmail server.
Whether the change in traffic is because the Chinese government has decided to back off and allow people to continue tunneling out of the firewall is unknown; although it is almost certain that it has at least had a hand in disrupting the service in the first place. At the very least, some Gmail users are back online and won’t be left without their email.