Google & China

  silverous 09:00 26 Jan 2006

You will have seen in the press over the last day or so that Google are to be allowed to provide search facilities in China as long as they restrict access to things that the government don't want them to - like the Tiananmen massacre, any anti-government propoganda etc.

What are your thoughts on this?

My first reaction was...why not? Google are a business and if they don't go in there, MSN or someone else will and Google will lose out on a massive market.

That struck me as the same thinking as someone claiming "If I don't sell drugs someone else will". Has Google "sold out" on its "Don't be evil" mission? I think by assisting censorship it perhaps lends approval by a major global brand to this practice. What do you think?

  jack 09:05 26 Jan 2006

As stated Google is a business and as such if a business wants the trade they do so on the customers terms - there is no other way.
But having got in there, there will be plenty of exposure to other aspects of western life, that trying to stir up a mares nest -will not be necessary. Time wil do it all.

  Forum Editor 09:14 26 Jan 2006

and Google is a business. If they didn't agree to this they would be out of China, and as other big search engines are already in China and complying, the choice was obvious. I would have done precisely the same thing.

I go to China often, and I can assure you that anyone who wants to beat the censorship controls can do it. Chinese people aren't silly, they know how to use the internet as well as anyone else.

  silverous 09:17 26 Jan 2006

their "mission statement" and in this I think they have compromised that. Do you also not think that it lends credibility to the regime to assist it in this way?

  SG Atlantis® 10:08 26 Jan 2006

not really.

The Google guy that was on the news said that the Chinese will still have access to over 99% of the world's information. They are complying with a government to gain access to a huge market, what's evil about that? Nothing.

I don't think it lends credibility to the regime at all that Google are complying, it's just business. They want to provide their services to the Chinese and that's what they are doing.

  Forum Editor 10:15 26 Jan 2006

to a regime, it's about providing the country with access to what's out there.

If a few references to Taiwanese independence are blocked, so what? Most educated Chinese citizens are well aware of the issues surrounding such topics.

  Chegs ®™ 11:17 26 Jan 2006

Surely its hypocrasy? Google refused to hand over data to the US Gov but comply with China's Gov.

I read a blog response from a citizen of Taiwan who pointed out that it might be viewed as folks out there thinking the rest of the world has just forgotten about them and their oppression.

  SG Atlantis® 11:25 26 Jan 2006

They will obtain the information they want, like the FE says the Chinese people aren't stupid. It's not upto Google to end this oppression or any other western company. Is it?

  silverous 11:58 26 Jan 2006

They often boycott countries whose regime is oppressive in some way. Why do they do that? OK, businesses don't tend to... but international sporting organisations for example. I guess we need to accept that Google is a business and this is a effectively a big business transaction and they, like businesses often have to, have probably had to compromise

Google is a business so it isn't about "providing country with access to what's out there" that is the altruistic view, it is about them getting market share...although you quote pretty much what Google's response when questioned on this was...that they'd rather provide access to 99% of information than 0%.

  dth 15:59 26 Jan 2006

I have no problems with the business case but it does seem a bit hypocritical given their 'don't be evil' theme. Or am I just being naive and the 'don't be evil' thingy is just a marketing slogan

  GANDALF <|:-)> 16:33 26 Jan 2006

It is better to have some access to the Internet than none.


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