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Google Drive crashes into China's Great Firewall

Almost as soon as the Web giant launches its cloud storage service, the country shuts down access.

Google launched Google Drive yesterday, and almost immediately, China began blocking the cloud storage service.

The service, which allows users to store files on Google's servers, joins a host of other Western Internet services such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Foursquare, and Google+ that are prohibited from operating in China. The impediment is not a total surprise, given China's contentious relationship with the Web giant over the past couple of years.

But that's not to say that China's Internet users -- some 500 million strong -- will have to go without cloud storage if the need arises. While cloud storage services Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft's SkyDrive are verboten in China, there are still plenty of homegrown alternatives to serve residents' needs. Gaming company Shanda provides online storage through its Everbox service, and Chinese search giant Baidu announced a cloud storage platform last month called WangPan.

While China's Great Firewall closed on Google Drive fairly quickly, there have been cracks recently that allowed China's citizens to access previously forbidden services. In February, President Obama's Google+ was inundated with comments from China after a glitch temporarily gave the country's citizens access to the social-networking site.

A Google representative told CNET that the company had checked the issue "extensively" and found nothing wrong on its end.