“Google might abandon google.cn”

What a headline. TMC has an outstanding reputation, and I am amazed to see such a provocative headline over a story that fails to back it up. Where’s Brin’s quote that supports the headline and lede?

Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently revealed that the company was likely to abandon its China-based search engine Google.cn.

On January 25 of this year, Google established Google.cn that operates on servers based in China, but now the users of Google.cn are not even up to 1% of people who use Google.com. So the Chinese version of Google turns out to be merely a chicken-rib product to some extent, an Internet analyst asking not to be named told Chinese media.

When being inquired by domestic media over the market performance of Google.cn, its related marketing personnel declined to make comments on. Google, which is also named Gu-Ge in Chinese for promotion, is the largest search engine in the world, but it has been lagging behind its Chinese indigenous rival Baidu in China market, with the latter presently taking over a half of the Chinese market.

This story is dated yesterday and was written in Beijing. It appears to directly contradict reports last week that Google certainly intends to stay in China.

The whole mess started with Brin’s oddly apologetic remarks about google.cn compromising the company’s principles, and is a textbook example of how one phrase coming from the mouth of CEO can set into motion a nuclear reaction.

Update: This quite excellent post says it all: Brin’s mutterings serve as a sort of “Rorschach test,” that anyone can interpret as he or she chooses. No wonder there’s so much confusion and contradiction in the way this story is being reported.

The Discussion: 3 Comments

I suspect that’s a recycling of the headlines from last week combined with reading too much into to Brin’s comments.

June 13, 2006 @ 12:41 am | Comment

Probably. Is it true, by the way, that google.com is now back?

June 13, 2006 @ 1:38 am | Comment

It’s back, interestingly enough popping back online on a regular basis not long after the original AP report about Brin’s comments.

Rorschach Test indeed. I wonder what the local apparatchiks here in Beijing read into Sergey’s words.

June 13, 2006 @ 4:54 am | Comment

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