Google Inc triggered a false alarm by posting a notice that its search engine and several other services had been cut off from mainland China - a key market where the company has been locked in a high-profile battle over online censorship.
But what initially looked like a dramatic development turned out to be nothing more than a technological hiccup.
After the company’s report of a complete blockage in China had been relayed by The Associated Press and other media, Google backed off the claim.
The company, based in Mountain View, said its system for tracking Internet access appeared to have misinterpreted what was happening to its search, mobile and advertising services in China.
“It’s possible that our machines could overestimate the level of blockage,” Google said in a statement. “That seems to be what happened (Thursday) when there was a relatively small blockage. It appears now that users in China are accessing our properties normally.”
When the AP initially inquired about the problem in China, a Google spokesman said he had no other details beyond what the company was listing on its own website.
Google began posting daily status updates on the availability of its services in China four months ago.