Google's decision to move its simplified-Chinese search service to an uncensored site in Hong Kong grabbed headlines around the world yesterday but it meant little to tens of millions of mainland internet users and failed to change the censorship regime it set out to challenge. Hours after the California-based internet giant made public its decision to end self-censorship in China, the famed image of the 'Tiananmen tank man' did not pop up on screens nationwide - as some anticipated earlier. Nor were mainland internet users denied the Google service altogether - as others once feared. Visitors to Google.cn are being automatically redirected to Google's Hong Kong site, which provides uncensored search results in English, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese. Mainland users can use the search service as before, with sensitive results blocked by the central government instead of Google. For millions of mainland users, the subtle difference is negligible. In sharp contrast with the fanfare two months ago when Google dropped a bombshell by announcing it planned to 'pull out' from the mainland to protest against excessive internet policing and hacking activities, its latest announcement generated little buzz. For those living inside the notorious 'Great Firewall of China', 'Google's new home in China' is not a promised land where information flows free. To get forbidden information, they have to do what they have always done - use proxy servers to bypass the government censorship, also known as 'scaling the wall'. 'It creates a bit [more] inconvenience but it will not change my life at all,' said Li Wei, a 25-year-old computer engineer. who was one of a few dozen onlookers gathering at Google China's headquarters in Beijing. Analysts are divided over how Google's decision will shape the mainland's internet development in the long run. Zhao Jing, an internet researcher, called it a slap in the face for Beijing, while Hu Yong, from Peking University, said its impact remained unclear. But the impact on Google's mainland business was more immediate and pronounced. Shortly after the US company's announcement, Tom Online, a mainland internet firm controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, said it had ended its affiliation with Google. Analysts said it was possible that Google's plans for other services in China, such as its Android smartphone software, could be endangered by the relocation of its search service. 'We see this as increasing or ratcheting up tension between the two parties,' Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Financial, said. 'You sort of make China look like the bad guy and you think you're going to be selling Google phones? Good luck, we'll see how that goes.' In the bigger scheme of Sino-US relations, experts said the Google incident would probably only play a marginal role.