The deflector shield is now fully operational. Google just announced that it will be complying with the Chinese government’s requests to censor its search results. Recall that in 2004, the mainland Chinese version of Google News was already censored. Now Google, has a new address — www.google.cn — and whereas before you could get the results of a search on Tibetan independence but not open the link, now, it seems, you won’t even know it exists. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
To obtain the Chinese license, Google agreed to omit Web content that the country’s government finds objectionable. Google will base its censorship decisons on guidance provided by Chinese government officials.
From the IHT:
“Google is clearly coming here to make money and they have made a commercial decision,” said Duncan Clark, managing director in Beijing with BDA China, a consulting firm. “If you look at the muted consumer response against Yahoo after involvement with jailing a journalist, I don’t think you’ll see a mass rejection of Google.”
Of course not! Heck, we used Google to find all this dirt on Google. The gist of it is that now www.google.CN can host servers in China, whereas before Chinese users were using a simplified Chinese version of Google hosted in the US. Now that servers are in China, searches don’t have to pass through the Great Firewall, and thus searches will be faster, and thus, Google will become more competitive vis-a-vis Baidu (Google only owns 2.6% of Baidu) and other search engines. What’s surprising to Shanghaiist is that we couldn’t find Chinese language information on this. We first learned of this on the BBC (which you know better than to try accessing in China), which has a nice Chinese language service, but were unable to locate a Chinese article on this. We’ve also briefly tried some Hong Kong and Taiwan sites, but haven’t found anything yet. If any of you see one, please let us know. Oh, and check out what those analyst fellows have to say:
“The thing is, especially in a place like China, you can’t bargain. You don’t have much leeway,” Krishna said. “Because you don’t have that bargaining leverage, it’s important to find the least common denominator between the two and enter the market with that initially.”
Any guesses what that common denominator might be? But let’s not get pessimistic, because Google is doing a lot of good in China. Anyone catch the nationwide Google sponsored programming contest on TV? (The final winner was a student from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou.)
While you’re musing on the metaphysical balance of Good and Evil, read this essay which explains how Google became the “Jennifer Lopez of the Internet” and how they got that wacky motto of theirs.