Google Removes its Services from Crimea

Published: January 26, 2015 2:37 PM /


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As previously reported on TechRaptor, both Apple and Steam have complied with sanctions against Crimea and will not allow the use of their online stores by Crimean based users. Paypal as well has recently announced they would also be complying with the sanctions, and would not be able to offer the full range of its service to people locate in Crimea.  Now Google has joined the growing ranks of major tech companies to take part in the sanctions against the region.

Reportedly, Google is now blocking its AdSense and AdWords services within the region of Crimea, in compliance with sanctions that ban offering paid services in the region. Starting February 1, Google Play will also be shut down in the region, as downloading apps, whether free or paid, is considered to violate the import/export ban placed on the region. However free online services such as Google Search, Translate, Maps and Gmail will still be available in Crimea.

Google has stated that they are simply complying with US and EU sanctions, but also hint that even if they wanted to defy the sanctions they have no way of making payments to people based in Crimea. A source from Google stated, "Google’s prohibited from providing paid services in the Crimea. In addition, Google cannot make payments to anyone in the Crimea. It is now technically impossible, as almost all international banks have ceased to make payments."

As more tech companies pull out the region, the Crimean tech sector will suffer, but it's not clear that Russia itself would be significantly afflicted by these sanctions. If the primary goal of the sanctions is to influence Russian policy, then they seem to have picked the wrong target.

Do you think that Google joining the growing ranks of tech companies pulling major services from Crimea will have any effect on Russia's policy? Leave your comments below.

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I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.