Google to censor results in China

Is it a case of Google selling its soul, selfishly seeking to tap into the seductively huge China market, or is it a responsible business decision that brings specific and meaningful benefits to the Chinese people? Or perhaps a little of both? I admit, I’m conflicted, just as I am about other corporate decisions to cave to local rules specifically designed to repress. It really does benefit Chinese Internet users, and most will be thrilled to be able to use Google despite the censorship; most couldn’t care less about the restrictions. But is it about how helpful it is to the Chinese, or about how American companies are supposed to reflect American values? Diamond mining in South Africa during the days of apartheid provided badly needed jobs to poor black workers. But should American companies cooperate with governments that legislate racism? I really don’t have the answers, just the questions. Google is in effect making itself a mouthpiece of the Party propaganda machine, but it has no choice if it wants to operate in China. What my question boils down to is whether this is about China or about America. Complete article is below.

Online search engine leader Google Inc. has agreed to censor its results in China, adhering to the country’s free-speech restrictions in return for better access in the Internet’s fastest growing market.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company planned to roll out a new version of its search engine bearing China’s Web suffix “.cn,” on Wednesday. A Chinese-language version of Google’s search engine has previously been available through the company’s dot-com address in the United States.

By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search engine more widely available and easier to use in the world’s most populous country.

Because of government barriers set up to suppress information, Google’s China users previously have been blocked from using the search engine or encountered lengthy delays in response time.

The service troubles have frustrated many Chinese users, hobbling Google’s efforts to expand its market share in a country that expected to emerge as an Internet gold mine over the next decade.

China already has more than 100 million Web surfers and the audience is expected to swell substantially – an alluring prospect for Google as it tries to boost its already rapidly rising profits.

Baidu.com Inc., a Beijing-based company in which Google owns a 2.6 percent stake, currently runs China’s most popular search engine. But a recent Keynote Systems survey of China’s Internet preferences concluded that Baidu remains vulnerable to challenges from Google and Yahoo Inc.

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.

Although China has loosened some of its controls in recent years, some topics, such as Taiwan’s independence and 1989’s Tiananmen Square massacre, remain forbidden subjects.

Google officials characterized the censorship concessions in China as an excruciating decision for a company that adopted “don’t be evil” as a motto. But management believes it’s a worthwhile sacrifice.

“We firmly believe, with our culture of innovation, Google can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive pace of development in China,” said Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s senior policy counsel.

Google’s decision rankled Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog group that has sharply criticized Internet companies including Yahoo and Microsoft Corp.’s MSN.com for submitting to China’s censorship regime.

“This is a real shame,” said Julien Pain, head of Reporters Without Borders’ Internet desk. “When a search engine collaborates with the government like this, it makes it much easier for the Chinese government to control what is being said on the Internet.”

When Google censors results in China, it intends to post notifications alerting users that some content has been removed – to comply with local laws. The company provides similar alerts in Germany and France when, to comply with national laws, it censors results to remove references to Nazi paraphernalia.

Google is cooperating with China’s government at the same time it is battling the U.S. government over a subpoena seeking a breakdown of one week’s worth of search requests – a list that would cover millions of terms.

Reflecting its uneasy alliance with the Chinese government, Google isn’t releasing all its services.

Neither Google’s e-mail nor blogging services will be offered in China because the company doesn’t want to risk being ordered by the government to turn over anyone’s personal information. The e-mail service, called Gmail, creates a huge database of users’ messages and makes them instantly searchable. The blogging services contain a wide range of personal background.

Yahoo came under fire last year after it provided the government with the e-mail account information of a Chinese journalist who was later convicted for violating state secrecy laws.

Initially, Google’s Chinese service will be limited to searching Web pages and images. The company also will provide local search results and a special edition of its news service that will be confined to government-sanctioned media.

The Discussion: 52 Comments

Doesn’t this seem like a case of double standards?
 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m don’t want the US
government gaining access to the surfing habits of Americans, but why cooperate with one government and not another?
 
It’s all about the money. The American government can’t block Google’s access to markets in the US the way the Chinese government can in China.

January 24, 2006 @ 6:09 pm | Comment

Expect outrage and indignation from ESNW. Not directed at Google, of course. But at Reporters without Borders and any Westerner who criticizes google on this score. You figure it out, because I can’t.

January 24, 2006 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

That’s ESWN and though I’ve not read his accounts on this matter, I’d suspect hes just playing the devil’s advocate.

January 24, 2006 @ 7:42 pm | Comment

On initial reading it doesn’t sound too bad at all. So, if you try to search for something that’s forbidden by the government, you’ll get a notice telling you that it’s forbidden by the government. Seems fair enough – they’re being as open with their mainland Chinese users as they can. I’m also pleased to hear that they won’t release gmail or blogging services in China in an attempt to avoid the kinds of problems yahoo and msn spaces have had. Of course, now they’ve entered the Chinese market they have opened themselves up for pressure – it is possible that they could get “give us these details or we’ll block google”, but it’s unlikely as the last time they blocked google (2002?) the Chinese business community rose up in arms and demanded it back again.

I’d like to know why it’s been impossible for me to get google.com in English for the past two months, no matter how many buttons I click I never seem to find the English version (probably incompetence, I admit). I’ve given up and started using google.co.uk.

January 24, 2006 @ 7:54 pm | Comment

ESWN has been consistent in his argument on this issue. Here’s what he had to say about proposed legislation that would have kept yehoo from accommodating the CCP:

Will this be a victory for freedom and democracy?

The only thing that will happen is that the Chinese users of the Yahoo.com.cn will have to find an indigenous email service provider, of which there must be several hundred. All the Chinese email service providers will comply with the Chinese laws. The net outcome for the Yahoo users is a great deal of inconvenience in terms of informing their network of friends and associates about their new email addresses. Nothing else changes.

This will not be a victory for freedom and democracy. Nobody in China will love the US Congress or Reporters Without Borders for this.

This is a persuasive argument and I appreciate its logic. My question, however, is whether the law being considered was designed to help Chinese surfers win more freedom, or to uphold American values (and it’s difficult to type those words “American values” in the Age of Bush). There are two ways of looking at it. If the only thing to consider is whether it will help Chinese people in the short term (like the diamond mines in South Africa), then all arguments of ethics and morality are out the window. If we are also considering whether American businesses have some greater responsibility than just grabbing as much cash as they can, then the conversation becomes more complex.

January 24, 2006 @ 7:54 pm | Comment

Dish, your problems with google should be resolved with this new pact with the party.

Did you read the part about Google News? All stories shown will be pre-approved by the CCP. Not a “big deal,” unless, of course, you want to make your own choice about what to read.

January 24, 2006 @ 7:56 pm | Comment

>On initial reading it doesn’t sound too bad at all.

Let’s say a Chinese company owned the most widely used information channel (which is what google is) on the web. They wanted to make money in Japan, so they collaborated with the Japanese government to block searches relating to, say, Japanese agression in Asia (that is “unhealthy, anti-Japanese propaganda” you know). Ok, what would be the reaction of the Chinese people towards this Chinese company? “Seems fair?” I don’t think so. That would be the reaction of many Japanese, probably.

January 24, 2006 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

In my extensive poll of readily available mainland Chinese internet users (ie one Chinese bloke who’s sitting next to me in my flat) the results were slightly on the positive side of indifferent. He knows that there are certain topics the government here forbids, and thinks that if google gives a polite “that’s forbidden” notice then it’s fine, especially as if the links did come up they’d probably all be blocked by the firewall anyway.

I’d missed the bit about the news. Hmm… Ok, I’ll accept that there is a difference between not showing subjects specifically banned by the government and only presenting news items that have been officially veted. A big difference. Yeah, I don’t like that one so much. I think it’s very interesting that while my internet-savvy Chinese friends are all well-aware that certain topics and websites are blocked, most of them are blissfully unaware that their news is censored by the party. Well, they must be aware on some level, but they’re not nearly as conscious of this as they are of the firewall, which they bump up against with regularity.

Jim, I can’t quite get your anology to work in my head – possibly because I haven’t had enough caffine to drink yet. What searches is this going to restrict? Not ones about international tensions, but ones about national sore spots: that early-summer-incident-in-a-famous-square, the independence of a certain island and a certain mountainous region in the west, that quasi-religious group lead by a charismatic leader now resident in the USA. Now I personally wish the Chinese could have access to a wide range of information and differing views about all of these, but as long as the firewall exists, it ain’t going to happen without a proxy, and the vast majority of Chinese netizens do not use a proxy. At least by telling users that certain topics are banned by the government it will remind them of precisely who is to blame in this situation.

January 24, 2006 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

Hmm now that Google is on my personal official boycott list, what do I use to search now? Yahoo is out, MSN is out…

January 24, 2006 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

Use the library and microfiche like we used have to in the olde days before the Internet and the internal combustion enginer (ie when I was in grad school). As long as you had a magnifying glass to read the index books, seventy two uninterrupted hours to page through them and $100 in dimes for microfiche readers and photocopies, you could be assured of retrieving almost any information you needed. As long as your library subscribed to that publication.

Ahh those were the days. And if they ever come back, I’ll shoot myself.

January 24, 2006 @ 9:55 pm | Comment

shame for google

January 24, 2006 @ 10:14 pm | Comment

So much for “Don’t be evil”

Somebody organize a ‘we-hate-google’ listserv. On Google Groups.

January 24, 2006 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

Will, believe it or not three of my early working years were spent at the Times writing abstracts for those huge red Index books that were once a staple at every library. I wonder if newspapers even need Indexers anymore? Google made us obsolete.

I’m still waiting for comments on the central (to me) issue: should we be bothered by American companies that sleep with the devil if it’s “good for business”? Do we praise Google or damn them? If it’s contrary to our values but benefits the Chinese people, should we just brush it off and forget it?

January 25, 2006 @ 12:35 am | Comment

It looks like the filtering is only being applied to the google.cn site. Search results at the Chinese language version of google.com at
http://www.google.com/ig?hl=zh-CN are not filtered.

I assume that the google.cn servers are actually located in China while the google.com servers are located in the US. This means google.com will be slower to access in China than google.cn, but as long as google.com remains unblocked, people in China should still be able to use it for uncensored search.

January 25, 2006 @ 12:54 am | Comment

except for searches that are blocked by the standard Chinese ‘great firewall’

January 25, 2006 @ 1:25 am | Comment

An interesting story in Forbes on Google’s dealings with another shifty government, the US. In this case, Google doesn’t want to “dance with the devil” because it will impact profits to cough up all the porn-search data:

A public disclosure of exactly how much pornography is on the Internet and how often people look for it–the two data points that will result from fulfilling the government’s subpoena–could serve to make the Internet look bad. And Google, as its leading search engine, could look the worst.

None of the search engines make a full disclosure of how much porn users are looking at. When America Online lists its most popular searches, for instance, porn references are scrubbed out. But Nielsen/NetRatings says that porn sites attracted 38 million unique viewers in December–or a quarter of all Internet surfers.

Google and its competitors all benefit from porn sites, which help generate search queries and page views. But Google is the only portal company that makes nearly all of its revenue from click-through advertising. Restricting porn and porn advertising–the likely aim of COPA’s sponsors–could hurt Google disproportionately.

And there we have it. If dancing with the devils in China were damaging to Google’s bottom line, they’d be howling in protest, filing suit, speaking in tongues and rending their garments in the public square. If, however, the dancing means more money, well then they’re just fine with it.

January 25, 2006 @ 2:03 am | Comment

What I’d like to see is one of these foreign technology companies actually challenge the legality of CCP censorship by very publicly filing a lawsuit in Chinese courts on the ground that freedom of speech is protected under the Chinese constitution. This will force the CCP to make a hard decision. Anything the courts do other than ruling in favor of freedom of speech would amount to a very public and embarassing admission that all the fancy guarantees in the Chinese constitution and all the rhetoric about rule of law are basically just BS. No matter what the actual outcome, this will be good for China. At the minimum, it will raise awareness that the Chinese constitution guarantees all sorts of rights and freedoms that are not being protected in practice, that these rights are not something foreign that don’t apply in China since they are actually written into the constitution by the CCP! It’ll be good for the corporation in question too, as it will earn the good will of a lot of people in China.

January 25, 2006 @ 3:06 am | Comment

The Guardian today has a leader about Google and China:

Whether Google might have done better in the long run commercially by keeping to the high moral ground at a time of rapid change in China will now not be known. It has an approach that is more ethical than most, but the multitude of enthusiasts will find it hard to reconcile its mission to provide all information to everyone when there are exceptions for words such as “democracy”. It is easy to see why Google is doing this. This does not alter the fact that, sadly and in a significant way, it is not the same company today that it was yesterday.

January 25, 2006 @ 4:50 am | Comment

>Not ones about international tensions, but ones about national sore spots:

You mean Japanese aggression in Asia is not a national sore spot in Japan??? My point is that if a Chinese company were helping the Japanese govt. censor information from the Japanese people about Japan’s past (among other issues), this issue would be seen in an entirely different light by the very people who are now defending Google and calling it “no big deal.”

Ok, Google is an American company. Americans just spent half a century defeating communism (or “communism” if you like). Whatever you want to say about the current state of American politics, Bush, etc., most Americans don’t want American companies helping authoritarian dictatoriships. I’ll go out on a limb and say most people in the world don’t want that.

January 25, 2006 @ 5:06 am | Comment

I think you’re absolutely right jim.. If Japan were to sensor information with the help of Google, every Google building on the planet would be burnt to the ground in a matter of seconds. There is no reason they shouldn’t be going up in flames right now.

January 25, 2006 @ 5:38 am | Comment

I guess my mental block is because the entire Sino-Japanese relationship is so completely tense that I can’t quite fit the analogy into the Sino-US relationship (in which China is playing the part of the US and Japan is playing the part of China).

Anyway, richard asked:
>I’m still waiting for comments on the central (to me) issue: should we be bothered by American companies that sleep with the devil if it’s “good for business”? Do we praise Google or damn them? If it’s contrary to our values but benefits the Chinese people, should we just brush it off and forget it?

Didn’t Will say, about the MSN Spaces scandal, that this is a situation in which it’s impossible to figure out black from white as everything is grey. We’ve got to judge each particular case on its own merits and consider each case’s specific circumstances.
In my opinion, google have made
a) two good decisions (not to release gmail or blogging tools in China and thus reduce the risk of being forced to hand over personal information)
b) one neutral-to-negative decision (to not permit banned searches in China but to give a notice informing searchers of the reasons). Neutral-to-negative because a lot of those websites will already have been blocked by the firewall, but if anyone hopes to find the rare unblocked websites they’ll have to use the dotcom google.
c) one negative decision (to only allow veted news stories on their portal). I think it would be better to have no news rather than censored news.

I just can’t accept all this “dancing with the devil” talk, because every single one of us who works in China, or who buys products made in China by either Chinese or international companies, and especially the 2008 Olympics are all dealing with and helping to prop up an oppressive and totalitarian ruling party.

Why is google getting flak for doing a not terribly good job, but one that’s definitely better considered than microsoft or yahoo’s?

January 25, 2006 @ 5:52 am | Comment

PS. I really like Hui Mao’s idea. Who can we persuade to finance that?

January 25, 2006 @ 6:12 am | Comment

dishuiguanyin: I guess for me I think it’s wrong what google is doing. I never used MSN or Yahoo, so I didn’t stop once they started selling their souls to the Chinese market, but I do(did) use google so it means more to me. I do also make an active effort not to buy products made in China (all that I have is my apple computer stuff, which I was disappointed to find that it was made in China after my last purchase was made in Taiwan — I tried to return it too, but apple wouldn’t let me because it was a special order). I also make an active effort to not buy anything with the ’08 olympics logo on it (currently I have bought nothing.) I guess I’m being consistent, so I will pat myself on the back now *pat* *pat*.. hehe

Also, I searched for Taiwanese independence on the chinese search engine that is shown in the BBC article and got all kids of articles. is that because I’m in Japan?

http://imbermedia.net/~darintenb/files/2006/01/25/baidu.jpg

January 25, 2006 @ 6:31 am | Comment

Fair questions, Dish. But when you agree to censor and block, you are dancing with the devil. Have you agreed to do anything comparable?

January 25, 2006 @ 6:33 am | Comment

See the update to the newer google post. Great article in the Guardian on this.

January 25, 2006 @ 6:49 am | Comment

What I’d like to see is one of these foreign technology companies actually challenge the legality of CCP censorship by very publicly filing a lawsuit in Chinese courts on the ground that freedom of speech is protected under the Chinese constitution.

Wouldn’t that be sublime? Don’t hold your breath. Companies are too busy salivating over China’s “1.2 billion consumers” to fight such dreamy battles.

January 25, 2006 @ 6:56 am | Comment

Richard, I accept regular wages from a state-run college in China. Thus I have signed an agreement that in my teaching I will not, “use materials or introduce topics related with sensitive internal affairs of Chinese government” – and there have been classroom discussions where that has meant I’ve had to bite my tongue hard. Very hard.
I’ve also agreed not to “conduct religious teaching incompatible with the status of a foreign expert” – but I’m fine with that one, as one of my pet peeves is the underground missionaries who work as English teachers here. (Hate them. Hate them.)

Now you probably think that these are infinitesimally small compared to what google is doing, but I think we’re all dancing with the devil in this situation. During apartheid South African teams were barred from international sports competitions. Now the IOC has given the Olympics to Beijing. During apartheid we refused to buy South African fruit, and (some of us refused to buy South African) diamonds. Now Chinese-made products are flooding the world in an unstoppable tide.

Darin: congratulations on keeping up your moral standpoint, but how do you buy shoes? and clothes? and small plastic goods? and mandarin oranges? Isn’t it expensive for you?

I can tell that the freedom of information and speech issue is a very important one for Americans, but I agree with Will when he said that banning American internet firms from China is pointless for all involved. We allow General Motors, and McDonalds, and Wallmart, and Tescos, and Volkswagen, and Carrefour, and a million and one other firms to operate here without breathing a whisper. Those firms are paying millions in tax revenues (and, possibly – just possibly, guanxi dinners and trips and presents) to the Chinese government, which uses the money to employ more internet censors and buy more electric batons for the police and to continue to keep a tight control over its populace.

I’m grey. You’re grey. Yahoo is grey. Google is grey. Darin is trying very hard to be white, but his Apple computer has made even him grey.

January 25, 2006 @ 7:22 am | Comment

That’s why we need to do it (here “it” is referring to the public lawsuit idea). You need to find someone willing to finance it, and find a lawyer brave enough to take it on. Oh, and get lots of international publicity. Insane? Yes. Possible? With enough backing, maybe.

January 25, 2006 @ 7:29 am | Comment

Hui Mao

That would be great. Unfortunately google et al would never do that, as they know they’d be fried alive by the government.

Also I believe that the authorities have ways of making the courts bury cases that are embarrassing – or simply refuse to hear them. So I’m not sure it would change anything.

January 25, 2006 @ 9:45 am | Comment

“Do No Evil” With Chinese Characteristics

(UPDATE 2) Google is learning to tangle

January 25, 2006 @ 11:15 am | Comment

Richard, Raj,

I know the profit motive and the threat of being left out of China’s market is what drive companies’ behaviors. But really how much money are they making in China? How many legit copies of MS Windows are sold in China and how many google ads are sold to Chinese advertisers?

Anyway, I don’t really see any possible consequence that could be very damaging to a company like google or microsoft if they file a law suit against the government. I found it extremely unlikely that the CCP would completely ban a company like Microsoft or Google because
1. economic development, especially the high tech areas, is one of the top priorities and these companies are too important to cutoff.
2. outright banning a large international corporation would look really bad and face is always an issue for the CCP .
3. CCP is not monolithic, there will be plenty of dissent within the CCP and since decision making at the top level of the CCP is usually by consensus, this will make any drastic action difficult.
4. It will cause huge outrage among the people. We’ve seen what public outrage can make the CCP do (e.g. Sun Zhigang case).

Also, I don’t think the courts can just ignore or bury this case like they have done to individuals who have filed this type of suit at risk of great personal consequences. If Microsoft or Google makes a very public press announcement about the law suit, then it’ll earn a lot of media attention and they can’t pretend it didn’t happen. Refusing to take the case would still amount to an admission that they are violating their own constitution.

Anyway, it’s ironic that these companies are talking so much about following local laws, because they are complying with orders that are actually illegal under the Chinese constitution. Maybe they should actually follow the letter of the law and refuse for once.

January 25, 2006 @ 11:52 am | Comment

I know the profit motive and the threat of being left out of China’s market is what drive companies’ behaviors. But really how much money are they making in China? How many legit copies of MS Windows are sold in China and how many google ads are sold to Chinese advertisers?

They see China as their most important market after the US. I know, because I was personally involved in the launch of Goodle Ads there and I personally launched Google Ads in Singapore. Please don’t imply that Google isn’t going toi make a lot of money from these ads in China. They are dirt cheap (relatively) and the most practical way for many Chinese businesses to advertise in the Net. These ads in China are not just important to Google, they are all-important.

January 25, 2006 @ 5:05 pm | Comment

And I want to clarify, I never said Google was being evfil. I think they are doing what just about any US company would do. And I always said this would benefit the Chinese people, not hurt them, at least in the short term.

January 25, 2006 @ 5:07 pm | Comment

In praise of Google in China

BBC’s website is blocked but many international apartment buildings get
BBC World. My colleague was…

January 25, 2006 @ 9:06 pm | Comment

Dishiguanyin,

I went to Google.cn and searched for “falungong”. I got 3,990 results. The first 2 pages were all negative about Falungong. And you know what, there were no warning that any site was “forbidden” as you said (or as what Google supposedly said).

Then I went to Google.com and did the same thing. I got 148,000 results!! The first 2 pages are mixture of news, Falungong’s own website, good, bad, indifferent.

So 3,990 versus 148,000, how’s that for censorship?

How would the Google.cn user know that his search has been censored, and even if he knows, how does he know which ones were censored?

Hey, it’s not about American values or Chinese (more accurately CCP) values. It’s about universal values.

January 25, 2006 @ 10:51 pm | Comment

richard: “they’re doing what just about any US company would do.”
Yeah, but I think they’re doing it a little better than others. I get the feeling the neither Yahoo nor MSN considered the consequences of basing operations in China until it was too late. Google have at least thought about their policies. Neither Yahoo nor MSN have made any open statements about their plans and aims for China. Google have at least told us what they’re thinking.

FChia: I haven’t tried it myself yet. I was relying on danwei. But if you’ve found issues, then I will have to reconsider. I’m off to experiment on different google searches. Will return with opinions.

January 25, 2006 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

I got the same results as FChia. Didn’t see anything that said clearly that things had been blocked.

January 25, 2006 @ 11:51 pm | Comment

Kevin, Dishiguanyin,

If you know what specific website you are looking for, you will get a message in Chinese that “due to local laws, your request cannot be displayed”.

Try “theepochtimes.com” in the search window. This is the website of Falungong. This is blocked and so indicated.

Of course, this is close to useless, because most users won’t go to google if they know the website. They go to google to search what they don’t specifically know.

So the search algorithm itself only tells you that you received 3,990 results but does not tell you that the other 144,010 results were blocked.

January 26, 2006 @ 12:16 am | Comment

Darin, you argued so strongly on my blog that right and wrong depend on culture. How is it your opinions are so strongly different here?

Is google filtering seditious content in China any different than filtering certain kinds of porn and copyrighted works in the US or Nazi memorabilia in Europe? Why is it so bad that they follow the rules of the countries in which they do business? I thought you were against the idea of applying your cultural ideas of morality to other countires.

January 26, 2006 @ 1:35 am | Comment

Yeah, I guess if you searched for a specific website it would be different, I see.
But if you search for a controversial term now, all you get back is officially-approved nonsense. That’s quite scary, like everything else has essentially disappeared off the face of the earth.

January 26, 2006 @ 1:43 am | Comment

Mark,

You’re not referring to “democracy”, “liberty” and difference in political opinions as seditious, are you?

You’re not putting pornography and copyrights restriction at the same moral level as “freedom” and political disagreements, are you?

Hope you don’t think “Taiwan” is same as porn, do you? Even Taiwan does not censor the term “communism” nor “CCP”.

Culture has nothing to do with it.

January 26, 2006 @ 2:48 am | Comment

“And I always said this would benefit the Chinese people, not hurt them, at least in the short term.”

Richard, how does google pushing pro-CCP sites to the top of the search results, even when it is not something especially “controversial” in China benefit Chinese people? Google is actively helping the CCP spin their side of the story by prioritising what they have to say. Even if there were alternative views, how far down the list of page results would you have to look for it?

As I said before, google came into the arena with a special mission statement – “we’re not like Microsoft” or something to that effect. Well they’ve breached it big-time. I don’t mind if people make difficult decisions, but you shouldn’t make commitments that you’ll discard as soon as a crisp $ bill is waved in front of your face.

Google made its bed – now it has to sleep in it. It can’t have its cake and eat it.

January 26, 2006 @ 3:04 am | Comment

Raj, I had heard it gives the chinese people more and better choices when it comes to searches. If that turns out to be false, then maybe I’ll take back my claim that China is better off with Google.cn.

January 26, 2006 @ 3:24 am | Comment

Mark..
“Darin, you argued so strongly on my blog that right and wrong depend on culture”
No, I didn’t. I argued that absolutes only work on paper. My whole purpose for bringing up culture in my whaling argument is that if it’s part of your culture, IWC says it’s okay to whale, yet Japan can’t even though it has the culture. So technically I wasn’t saying right and wrong depends on culture, but the IWC is…

dishuiguanyin
“Darin: congratulations on keeping up your moral standpoint, but how do you buy shoes? and clothes? and small plastic goods? and mandarin oranges? Isn’t it expensive for you?”
Actually in Japan it’s fairly easy, but it is indeed hard in America. Most all food in Japan is Japanese with the exception of, well, beef. “Mandarin Oranges” are called Mikan in Japan and grown in Japan for example. As for clothes, all my clothes seem to be made from all around the world, that’s actually the easiest part. I think that China’s economy has grown past clothes, and it is now too expensive to make them in China, so they are moved around to other places.

January 26, 2006 @ 4:06 am | Comment

Do you know where the fabric came from?

January 26, 2006 @ 4:14 am | Comment

No I don’t… The tags only say where it was made… I do the best I can ๐Ÿ™‚

January 26, 2006 @ 5:06 am | Comment

Ok, my results of a comparison between google.com/intl/zh-CH and google.cn:
1. Neutral search for โ€นรฃ?] (city where I used to live):
google.com produces 2,700,000 results in 0.36 seconds.
google.cn produces 2,490,000 results in 0.13 seconds.
The first ten results were exactly the same on both pages. I didn’t check later pages.

2. Slightly contentious search … not sure whether I should type it in Chinese or not …. just to be safe, I’ll tell you it was the “d3m0cracy” word:
google.com produces 14,600,000 results in 0.15 seconds
google.cn produces 14,500,000 results in 0.15 seconds plus the notice to tell me that “due to local laws some results are not shown”
First ten results were exactly the same on both pages. I didn’t check later pages.

3. Extremely dangerous search, I’ll just give you the letters F…L…G…:
google.com “cannot connect to server” despite frequent hitting of refresh button and trying several times in new browser windows – Celestial Nanny strikes again.
google.cn 886,000 results in 0.29 seconds plus the notice that “some results are not shown due to….”
Couldn’t compare the two since google.com was impossible to see.

So, is it better to get no results at all because the nanny won’t even let you see the page to find out how much is blocked, or is it better to get censored results and a polite notice telling you they’re censored?

January 26, 2006 @ 5:14 am | Comment

Dishuiquanyin,

I am outside China. And I type in my search in English.

These are my results:

“Democracy”
Google.cn: 79,500,000
Google.com: 141,000,000
First page mostly the same, but not wholly identical

“Tiananmen”
Google.cn: 30,900
Google.com: 1,790,000
First page mostly NOT the same, with a few identical. No item on the 1989 Tiananmen incident in Google.cn results on the first page.

Still there is a heck of a lot of difference in number of results.

If you are inside China, probably your Google.com is filtered. Then, you are getting censored information both ways.

January 26, 2006 @ 9:46 am | Comment

Dishuiguanyin,

Strange, I tried “falungong” again in Google.cn, and I still get 3,990 results, and no notice of any kind. (I got results in 0.10 seconds)

How come my result is consistently low, and nowhere near your 886,000? Can you try typing in “falungong”

January 26, 2006 @ 9:56 am | Comment

if you type in FLG in Chinese. you will get 866,000 hits.

January 26, 2006 @ 8:32 pm | Comment

CLC,

Hmmm… the English “falungong” is filtered more than the Chinese. Interesting… and perplexing…

Are there favorable views or at least neutral views of FLG in the first few pages of the results you got?

January 27, 2006 @ 9:50 pm | Comment

you people are sick anyone that would eat a dog should be shot and pissed on

June 9, 2006 @ 7:38 am | Comment

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