Google and China

Google can try to whitewash its decision to offer a censored version of Google to the Chinese, but it’s not going to fly. It’s just too naked of a capitulation. Comparing the results for a search on Tiananmen on Google and Google China puts the matter in stark relief (via Diana Hsieh).

The other search engines are yielding to the Chinese to get some of those billions of ad clicks that would result, but so what? If Google is truly about delivering information to the world, how does helping the Chinese government to retain power and pretend it’s a legitimate, democratic regime further that mission? It’s possible to take a principled stand for something and still make money. The other thing you get from such an action is respect.

In Google’s case, everyone was waiting for them to misstep on the “don’t be evil” pledge. Perhaps they thought they’d get it over with and future evil would be met with jaded cynicism rather than righteous indignation. Whatever the reason, I think Google’s really exercised poor judgement. I’ll still use them but I won’t be so vociferous in my admiration any longer.

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