Google Drive Hits China's Wall
Today in international tech news: Google Drive is "dead in the water" in China. Meanwhile, a soap opera is unfolding in South Korea, where there's a feud between the chairman of Samsung and family members who want a bigger piece of the company's fortune. Elsewhere, Twitter plays a central, and unfortunate, role in an English court case.
Apr 25, 2012 9:18 AM PT
Google Drive, a digital storage and sharing service, has officially been unveiled around the world. But the service was inaccessible in China from the get-go.
The circumstances of this block seem a bit different to the last major Google product to launch and then get slammed by the Great Firewall -- Google Plus. On that occasion, the new social network worked fine for a few short days in China, before most of its servers got whacked. With G+, there was not necessarily a blanket plus.google.com subdomain block as it would sometimes work, until it finally got throttled to death.
Google Drive, however, was "dead in the water" the moment it was released, according to Tech In Asia.
As with Sina Weibo (which is China' version of Twitter) and Baidu (akin to Google's search engine), there are Chinese alternative to Google Drive: Baidu's WangPan or Shanda's Everbox, among others.
But as Tech In Asia points out, "the choice has been made for people once again."
Samsung's Game of Thrones
A feud over the Samsung Electronics fortune has caused a family legal battle in South Korea, according to the Associated Press.
From the AP:
Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung Electronics, which is the flagship company of the Samsung conglomerate, is facing off against his older brother, a sister and a nephew's wife who all want a bigger piece of the Samsung cake ...
Lee, who is South Korea's wealthiest individual, on Tuesday took the rare step of publicly attacking his brother, Lee Meng-hee, declaring on YTN television that the 81-year-old "has been already kicked out from our home." Lee Meng-hee had earlier called his brother "greedy" and "childlike."
Lee Kun-hee was chosen by his father in 1979 to head what has become South Korea's most valuable company. That decision was rued by his brother, Lee Meng-hee, who wrote in his biography that he expected to inherit the throne.
The lengthy waiting list for German visas has opened up a market more typically found at football games or concerts: scalping.
People are offering up spots in line for between 500 and 2,000 RMB, or US$80 to $320, according to TechInAsia. In other words, the spots are going for well above face value.
From the Tech In Asia article:
The German visa waiting list is so long right now that the [Wall Street Journal] China Edition found one woman who was told that the next free slot for the Consulate interview was after July 17. Such interviews are required for all Chinese who'll go on personal or business trips to Germany. Only tour groups don't have to go through that whole process.
Searching for the combined words "Germany" and "visa" in Chinese on Taobao reveals 12 items for sale, which are actually just a ticket to queue-jump. Those seem to have been ordered only three times so far. That online shopping site is China's most popular, where ordinary people sell to consumers -- much like on eBay -- and so it was inevitable the site would be used by scalpers for this kind of thing ...
The German Consulate has issued a warning which translates to: "Any attempt to cheat the system and manipulate the reservations will be punished by law."
The victim of a 2011 rape had her identity divulged both on Twitter and on a television broadcast that displayed a Twitter feed as part of its coverage, according to The Guardian.
The case was noteworthy to begin with because the perpetrator was Ched Evans, a professional soccer played for Sheffield United. He was convicted last week.
The victim's name was reportedly trending on Twitter over the weekend.
From the Guardian:
Sky [News] issued an apology after the name flashed up on screen for what is understood to have been around a second.
"In our coverage last night we very briefly revealed the victim's name despite heavy redaction, and if watching in real-time viewers would not have noticed," said a Sky News spokeswoman. "We would, however, like to apologize to the victim and her family for any distress caused."
Connor Brown, also a member of Sheffield United, took to Twitter to support Evans. He has been suspended by the team.