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Google Agrees to Censor Results in China

ScuttleMonkey posted about 9 years ago | from the caving-under-pressure dept.

Google 862

neutralino writes "The Associated Press is reporting that Google has agreed to censor results in China. According to the article, '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.'"

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Don't^H^H^H^H^H (5, Funny)

sulli (195030) | about 9 years ago | (#14554750)

be evil.

Re:Don't^H^H^H^H^H (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554822)

Next on the sacrifice list:

Search logs to government.
Music/Movie download site searches to the appropriate authorities.

Re:Don't^H^H^H^H^H (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554850)

what the heck is with the ^H^H^H^H^H^ thing? I see people use it all the time, but I just don't understand how you can chain hydrogens like that.

Re:Don't^H^H^H^H^H (2, Informative)

jonathanhowell (673180) | about 9 years ago | (#14554920)

what the heck is with the ^H^H^H^H^H^ thing?

Assuming your question is sincere:
^H is a representation of Control-H, which is the ASCII character for backspace. Try it sometime: instead of hitting your backspace key to delete a character, hold down the Ctrl key and press H. It _should_ work (assuming that it hasn't been mapped to another function).


Re:Don't^H^H^H^H^H (0)

SyedSajidNizami (949210) | about 9 years ago | (#14554953)

May be there is a good side to it all. See google was banned by the government there anyway so atleast they penetrated inside. It's like making them want the thing in small doses.

Not as evil as the summery leads you to believe. (5, Insightful)

neoshroom (324937) | about 9 years ago | (#14554960)

As the article goes on to state, when an item is censored Google will tell you it has censored the searched item to comply with local laws. This sort of censorship where you know something is being kept from you is much less scary than the type where you simply don't know what is being kept from you. Simply providing their search engine to China in censored form, and admitting to users they are being censored isn't evil. What is evil is the Chinese governments restrictions on free speech, but Google can only choose to provide a censored search engine or not provide one at all.

Bold Statement (3, Insightful)

Kickboy12 (913888) | about 9 years ago | (#14554753)

What people need to realize is that Google doesn't really have a choice in the matter. I don't believe this violates the "Don't be evil" motto, as Google is simply trying to follow Chinese law. I don't think Google should be scrutinized for this, considering every other company (Microsoft, Yahoo, etc) has been forced to do the same thing. What people should be scrutinizing is Chinese law, not companies that follow said laws. Of course, the entire political situation in China is horrible and always has been.

Why should Google help the CCP? (5, Interesting)

sulli (195030) | about 9 years ago | (#14554770)

China needs Google more than the other way around. Google should tell the Communists to jump off a pier, and let them block Google. They should absolutely not do anything to help the Chinese authorities do what they do best, which is persecute religious minorities and throw people in jail for perfectly capricious reasons.

I have no problem with selling China cars or airplanes or other stuff like that. But to actively collaborate with the regime in stifling dissent is just too much. After this, I don't think anyone should have any faith at all in their claim that they will stick up to the US Government's fishing expedition.

Google is dead. Someone new will take their place. Someone who doesn't kowtow to dictators.

Re:Why should Google help the CCP? (3, Insightful)

Kickboy12 (913888) | about 9 years ago | (#14554820)


For starters, China isn't a communist state. It hasn't been in over 30 years. It's a Capitalist Dictatorship (aka Facism).

And... how exactly is Google dead? I fail to see any resonable cause for such a statement.

Re:Why should Google help the CCP? (3, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | about 9 years ago | (#14554853)

Meh, at this point, its not clear who has correctly defined communism.

The academic community, who coined it....

Or the political leaders who use it to describe themselves on a regular basis....

The definitions are radically different. *shrug*

Re:Why should Google help the CCP? (1, Interesting)

Kickboy12 (913888) | about 9 years ago | (#14554883)

By defintion Communism is as Marx described it (technically true communism is anarchy). Political Leaders who use it simply use it as political leaverage. Nothing more.

Re:Why should Google help the CCP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554925)

"I am not a communist." --Karl Marx

Re:Why should Google help the CCP? (4, Interesting)

1u3hr (530656) | about 9 years ago | (#14554968)

For starters, China isn't a communist state.

It's still "Communist" as in Communist Party controlled. How "communist" the "Communists" are is debateable.

Re:Why should Google help the CCP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554836)

Was google "dead" when they censored scientology [google.com] scientology too???

Re:Bold Statement (2, Insightful)

aardwolf64 (160070) | about 9 years ago | (#14554772)

Let me see if I get this right... It's a Bad Thing (tm) when Microsoft does it, but Google should get away with it, because everyone else is?

Re:Bold Statement (1)

Kickboy12 (913888) | about 9 years ago | (#14554806)

I would defend with the same argument if Microsoft had to fight the Chinese government. In fact, they have before, and I said the exact same thing.

Re:Bold Statement (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Custard (587661) | about 9 years ago | (#14554931)

Poland Spring sells clean, clear bottled water. What if Chinese law said that bottled water manufacturers had to put a little lead in the water to dumb down the population, so they won't understand how badly they're being treated by the gov't. Should Poland Spring comply just because that's Chinese law?

Well that's exactly what Google's doing. Google normally offers uncensored, clean information from which people can learn. But the Chinese government says that Google must poison the learning through censorship, in order to dumb down their citizens so they won't know how badly they're being treated by the gov't.

I am ashamed of Google and any other American entity that encourages China's oppressive style of government.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

rm69990 (885744) | about 9 years ago | (#14554977)

Well then why don't you pay Google the billions of potential dollars they would be losing by taking your advice....every year? Google isn't here to please random Slashdotters, Google is here to make money, and 99% of Google's users probably don't give two shits about this whole thing. Grow up, quit being a crybaby, and get over it.

And face it, the Chinese are used to this kind of treatment....and it will continue, with or without Google. Another poster said that China needs Google more than the other way around. That poster is braindead. I doubt Chinese people really care whether they use Yahoo!, MSN, Baidu or Google.

If all search engines did as you say, people would simply not be able to use search engines in China, the Chinese government wouldn't care. Why take such a valuable resource, censored or not, away from over a billion people?

Re:Bold Statement (1)

aarku (151823) | about 9 years ago | (#14554776)

Mreh. Or you could just say screw you China, if you don't want to use Google then block it. If everyone follows bad laws there isn't much incentive to changing it.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

Kickboy12 (913888) | about 9 years ago | (#14554845)

True, and normally I would agree with you. But in the case of China... they have to change these laws on their own. They've been getting protests and outside influence to remove these Facist laws, and have still held them up for decades.

Re:Bold Statement (3, Insightful)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | about 9 years ago | (#14554782)

Yes, they do have a choice. Rather than assist the PRC in violating human rights, they could decline to do business in China. There's all the talk here about how they faced down Bellsouth--don't you think they maybe have a little market power in China, too? Well, not now--they caved to the almighty yuan. I'm sure the dead Christians and the Tianmen Square students crushed under the treads of the people's tanks are thankful censored Google is available thanks to the sweetheart deal with the Chinese Communists.

Re:Bold Statement (4, Funny)

martinX (672498) | about 9 years ago | (#14554869)

what dead christians? what crushed students? i searched www.google.cn and couldn't find any of this?

Re:Bold Statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554981)

give me a break, look outside. There is more corruption, crime, and uncivil punishment in america as it is. We are killing off thousands of iraqi civilians (we don't keep track of that), holding "enemy combatents" in cuba, using other countries to do our turture bizz. and you are trying to use google to teach them chinese some civil western laws? Hell if you teach by example they are half way there. Open up your borders you crazy commie and accept our democracy, soon even you will be able to kill of your close muslim oil holding country and get away with it. Than you too can enjoy our great american benefits like, guerenteed poverty for your underfunded and rural masses. Come with us to the big cloud in the heaven as we introduce the ultimate sign of liberty, obesity and no education in exchange for complete paranoia and a police state ... i mean democracy.

Re:Bold Statement (4, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 9 years ago | (#14554783)

They didn't have to go into China, no one is pointing a gun at Google's head, nor will they go away for not going into China. Instead, Google "don't be evil" the Company is aiding and abetting the censorship of 1.3 billion people. Huzzah Google!

1.3 billion crimes against humanity (0, Troll)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 9 years ago | (#14554881)

I totally agree. When I first read about this on Drudgereport.com, I about choked up!!!

Google has just commited major crimes against humanity, and as such I vow to never use them again. No, I'm serious!

Google, could have decided to pull support all togeather. They didn't. They got greedy at the expense of 1.3 billion.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | about 9 years ago | (#14554887)

Agreed. No one seems to want to stand up to the Chinese government because of all the money to be made.

Re:Bold Statement (4, Insightful)

BewireNomali (618969) | about 9 years ago | (#14554951)

dude, there is a gun pointed at Google's head. Shareholders, dude. There'e no way Google isn't all over the yuan. And they will go away if Google isn't in China. Selfsame shareholders are bankrolling Google's expanding operations. They HAVE to be in China and nail it down from the ground floor. First mover's advantage and all.

I'd trip over myself to do business in China. Are you kidding me? Also, you lamers don't realize that Google in China would do more to erode the government's power than not? It's better for the young Chinese that Google be there, censorship or no. In fact, I'd be surprised if Google didn't code in easy hacks around the censorship criteria, and play dumb when the Chinese object. It'll take months/years for the old guard to catch on, and it'll endear Google amongst the young revolution-minded Chinese... university students, et al. Mindshare, cultural affinity, etc...

This holier than thou stance smacks of arrogance, frankly. There's something smart. A group doesn't do what you want it to, so you stop speaking to them until they do, right? lol. It's worked with Cuba, right?

I'm trying to teach myself Mandarin now. Are you kidding me? China is like the gold rush all over again. But then again, you'd know that, Wyatt.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

harvardian (140312) | about 9 years ago | (#14554797)

Capitulating to an evil law is evil. If there were a law that said you could kill babies, it would be evil to follow the law. Similarly, following the Chinese laws regarding censorship is wrong.

Laws are not automatically ethical just because Google's involved.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

Whafro (193881) | about 9 years ago | (#14554865)

Please no! Not another segue to an abortion discussion!

Re:Bold Statement (1)

Whammy666 (589169) | about 9 years ago | (#14554801)

But Google does have choice. They can either choose to legitimize an oppressive governmental policy by submitting to it, or they can give the Chinese government the big finger and say "Fine! Be jerks. We don't want any part of it." The world isn't going to end just because Google (or any other internet entity) decides not to play by China's backwards and oppressive policies.

Re:Bold Statement (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Custard (587661) | about 9 years ago | (#14554809)

Why would China ever change their ways if the big rich American corporations keep bending over backwards to accomodate their oppression?

When a country sponsors terrorism, we boycott them. When a country massacres certain races in their country, we try to stop them. Why, when a country rules by oppression, fear, and many other completely un-Democratic ideals should we make an exception?

Money talks, my friend. Google's got dollar signs in their eyes just like MS and Yahoo, and China's gonna be a huge market in the coming years. The oppressive communist chinese government is going to get rich off its economic boom, and peasants will still have to wear adult diapers [yahoo.com] on their 24-hour cattle-packed bathroom-less train rides home for the holidays.

Re:Bold Statement (4, Insightful)

WankersRevenge (452399) | about 9 years ago | (#14554812)

Of course they have a choice. The people who don't have a choice currently live in China. And remember, laws aren't changed by being complicit with them. Ask any one in the civil rights movement.

Re:Bold Statement (1, Interesting)

user317 (656027) | about 9 years ago | (#14554817)

Did ig farben have a choice of selling Zyklon-B to the Nazis? Of course if they didn't somebody else would. But some things are far more important then money, especially when the chineese communist party has commited far worse attrocites against its own people then the national socialist party did in germany.

Its just disguisting to see this happend, especially when a leading edge US tech companies that do it. What happend to "Give me liberty or give me death?" What about all those ideals, and all those people that died fighting opression to give Google a chance to become what it is today. These companies should be fighting a technological war against china, suberting their firewall, enabling their citizens with the information to fight the opressors, not the other way arround.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

quokkapox (847798) | about 9 years ago | (#14554841)

We have to hope that the Chinese government is going through its death throes right now with respect to censorship and political repression. Unless the majority of the population itself really wants it to continue, the trend will be towards free expression, just as recent economic trends have led towards a capitalist society. It's going to take a generation but when it happens China will be the new superpower. I hope their progress in this century won't be retarded by multinational corporations, pervasive political corruption, and backward religious fundamentalists all colluding to consolidate power, as in the U.S.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

belmolis (702863) | about 9 years ago | (#14554852)

Exactly what Chinese law would that be? Much of what the Chinese government does is extra-legal and arguably in violation of the Chinese Constitution, which protects freedom of speech and other rights.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

TibbonZero (571809) | about 9 years ago | (#14554911)

What's China going to do exactly? Sue them? I'd like to see them enforce that one. Go to California and arrest them for violating their laws? Not likely.

I think on the other hand that Google should take their powers as an internet powerhouse and declare virtual internet war against such regimes and do everything in their power to thwart China's blocking of them. Provide the Chinese everything that they can to get around the filters, with Proxies, VPNS, satilite connections, subversion methods, etc. The Biggest website in the World vs the Biggest Country in the World. Hell, maybe google could do a DoS attack on China's Government. Who would really care to stop them? I think the Mountain View police/FBI department is going to pay about as much attention to calls from China about a massive DoS attack from Google as any government offical in China cares about what we say when they violate our laws/standards.

Fuck China. Google, attack them!

While China is a "World Power" when it comes to people and money, Google's stock prices and value will go up even if they totally blow off China for the next 10 years.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

germanStefan (766513) | about 9 years ago | (#14554880)

Your right they are following law so if they want to be in china they don't have a choice. The other option would be not to go in to china. BUT, and a big BUT, since they are now a publicly traded company, I don't think the shareholders will be to happy of a company not entering a potential huge market and new revenue stream for the sake of morals. How often does a company do something "moral" and get rewarded in the market? I don't think moral is the best word to use in this instance, but you get my drift, I value access to information very highly and thus am disgusted when companies agree to deny access.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

martinX (672498) | about 9 years ago | (#14554897)

What people should be scrutinizing is Chinese law

But you can't scrute the inscrutable.

Re:Bold Statement (2, Interesting)

1u3hr (530656) | about 9 years ago | (#14554915)

What people need to realize is that Google doesn't really have a choice in the matter.

They could continue as they have, using US-based servers outside of China's control. Then they might be blocked from China. They don't want that, but they DO have a choice. The choice is between money and being moral. Like most businesses, they chose money. It's sad that being moral isn't even considered a possibility. Murdoch dumped BBC news from his TV broadcasts in China for exactly the same reason. It's easy to talk about democratic values, empowerment etc.; wait till they have to put their money where their mouths were to see who's sincere.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

britneys 9th husband (741556) | about 9 years ago | (#14554944)

Of course they have a choice. Google is not a Chinese company and can ignore Chinese law if they want to. Of course, this probably means not doing business in China. But they have the option. No one's forcing them. It's like saying I can't auction off my copy of College Girls do Extreme Anal Volume 23on Ebay because it's against Saudi Arabian law. I don't live in Saudi Arabia. I've never been to Saudi Arabia. They can't tell me what to do. Of course, if someone over there wins my auction, their customs will probably confiscate it. Similarly Google can do what they want, all China can do is block them with their great firewall.

Re:Bold Statement (1)

linuxhansl (764171) | about 9 years ago | (#14554946)

No, if the Chinese government wants to restrict access to some aspect of the internet *they* have to do that. In this case they could write their own search engine and limit the results in whichever way they please.

The only reason Google is willing to do this is... Money, like every other company out there - there's nothing idealistic about Google.

Censorship? (5, Funny)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 9 years ago | (#14554755)

I clicked on "Read More" as soon as the article came up and I got the message
"Nothing for you to see here, please move along"

Chinese censorship on slashdot too? 8@

Re:Censorship? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554771)

These posts aren't funny anymore and or never were. Stop. Please.

And so it begins... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554764)

Management decided.

You mean the suits decided.

I think the next year will see whether Google is true to the original DNA of the company, or whether they will become the next Microsoft, with all that implies.

Do no evil . . . (4, Insightful)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | about 9 years ago | (#14554765)

. . . unless it makes money.

Don't be evil down the gurgler (4, Insightful)

lamasquerade (172547) | about 9 years ago | (#14554766)

(I'm going to use the Google terminology of 'Evil' here, even though I find the word hyperbolic and ill-defined in general usage)

an excruciating decision for a company that adopted "don't be evil" as a motto. But management believes it's a worthwhile sacrifice.

That statement is bullshit. The 'worthwhile sacrifice' mentioned is clearly meant to work against the clear contravention of the 'do no evil' motto. However what is being sacrificed? The ethics of Google. What is being gained by the sacrifice? Access to China == profit. So they're sacrificing ethics for profit - that isn't exactly original for a corporation.

More from the article: "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.

Again, bullshit. Google is an informaiton company. Their entire existence is justified by making access to and use of information easier. If they censor that information based on the petty politics of nationalists (or any other political concern) then they are not serving their purpose. They are in fact reinforcing the policies of censorship and repression in China. If everyone, every company goes along with these policies then what motivation is there to change them?

Here's a real sacrifice: lose profits from lack of presence in China and be ethical and further the cause of free speech. That's a sacrifice, something you'd like, for something better. Not the other way around. Really the way these PR droids use language makes me want to have them lobotomised... and PR school doesn't count.

Re:Don't be evil down the gurgler (1)

tshak (173364) | about 9 years ago | (#14554818)

I've always believed that if you aren't willing to die for the freedoms that you care about that you don't deserve them (e.g. like many Americans willing to give up freedoms for "security"). If the Chinese people want freedom, they will need to revolt against their oppressive government. In the mean time, while we as individuals should continue to encourage these freedoms, it does no good for Google to be banned from China due to noncompliance from their law. It only limits the avenues for information even more for the Chinese people. Google is not sacrificing any ethics here.

Re:Don't be evil down the gurgler (1)

lamasquerade (172547) | about 9 years ago | (#14554863)

I don't see how you can be involved in censorship in any way and consider yourself ethical. Form me the OFLC [wikipedia.org] board and anyone who works for it is unethical. But censoring excersise of political speech and access to information on history and current affairs is far, far worse.

Re:Don't be evil down the gurgler (1)

tshak (173364) | about 9 years ago | (#14554927)

Your perspective is very binary. There are two options for Google. Zero Google in China(100% censored), or China controlled Google (1% censored). Google does not have the option not to censor. Rather, after protest, it has decided that a small amount of censoring is better than complete censoring.

Re:Don't be evil down the gurgler (1)

brandonY (575282) | about 9 years ago | (#14554937)

I am disappointed in you. Can you really now see how someone who is not you could do something that you find unethical and not find themselves to be unethical?

Re:Don't be evil down the gurgler (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554842)

What's really sad here is that Google is in a unique position to set a precedent for other companies to follow, big or small. If Google decided not to operate in China because it found the ramifications unethical, imagine the heat that other companies (Microsoft, Yahoo, etc) would take? They would be pushed by PR at the very least to match what Google is doing (or in this case, not doing). If Microsoft and others decided to aid the repressive regime at that point, they would be seen as *seriously* unethical and "evil". Unfortunately it looks like Google did not value ethics enough to set such a precent in motion. Based on its size, it could have had quite a positive effect on the side of freedom.

Re:Don't be evil down the gurgler (1)

BewireNomali (618969) | about 9 years ago | (#14554994)

Not true. not interesting.

there are 1.2 billion people in China, dude. they'd be setting a precedent in stupidity, one that their peers would not follow.

dude, the way you speak of Google is absurd.

Microsoft is already considered evil and only stand to gain by diving headfirst into the moneypot. China is moving by leaps and bounds toward an open society. IT can't happen any faster without war.

I'd be there right now if I could. Your post is not interesting. Nor is the mod who thought thus.

Re:Don't be evil down the gurgler (5, Insightful)

HydroPhonic (524513) | about 9 years ago | (#14554843)

Google had the decision to either:

- Be present in China, albeit in mutilated form. The censorship would be declared, not secret. As such, Google's chinese services would not claim to comprehensively represent Google's services. - Not operate in China at all.

China doesn't need Google very much; they already have Yahoo, MSN, et al. As such, Google declining to operate in China would do almost nothing to further the cause of free speech because it would not damage the opponents of free speech in the slightest.

Because Google lacks the potential to "further" the cause of free speech in this altercation, their failure to advance that cause in China is not sufficient to warrant the claim of evilness.

Re:Don't be evil down the gurgler (5, Insightful)

KagatoLNX (141673) | about 9 years ago | (#14554854)

That's the problem with being publicly traded...

Sacrificing the profits of China on principle has to be backed by the majority of the shareholders. Additionally, they don't want to enrich Microsoft and don't want their stock price to tank.

Of course, they have quite a few PHDs to feed.

In terms of net evil, of the options available, this is the least evil option. To remove themselves entirely from the Chinese market (the Great Firewall is effective and Google would likely not do well working around it) would be no better.

Make no mistake. Leaving the Chinese people high and dry would not be more effective or less evil. Especially when substituting a willing Microsoft or Yahoo. Ignoring a bad situation is evil. Making the best of it isn't.

Google may cooperate with the Chinese government. However, they won't be able to "purify" the search engine completely. There will be holes in the cache as well. They have so much data that there is no solution to solving this problem. Does making "imperfect" censorship available to the Chinese people sound worse than making a "perfect" set of firewall rules?

As for "reinforcing the censorship policies of petty nationalists"...how does removing yourself from the picture help? What should they do? Develop a crypto query network? Distributed it via clandestine means? Help me here.

Either using Google's "censored" content and tools will send countless Chinese to jail, or they will be able to continue to provide what they do now. In China, right now, Google is a wealth of information with everything you need nestled in the nooks and crannies. While it will be censored within the limitations of the Chinese government and technical possibility, it can still serve some purpose in spreading censored information.

Maybe all this means is that the honchos at Google have some humility. Perhaps they realize that this is the best they can do for the Chinese people. Perhaps they have coupled "Do no evil!" with "Do what you can."?

Re:Don't be evil down the gurgler (1)

PriceIke (751512) | about 9 years ago | (#14554862)

Not to mention the sacrifice of Americans who will divest their Google stock now because they want nothing more to do with the company's profits. Will be interesting to see Google's valuation over the next few days as news of the sellout propogates.

I for one am glad I do not own any Google stock, nor do I wish to in the future at this point, I don't care how big and mighty their cute little colors become.

Re:Don't be evil down the gurgler (1)

HydroPhonic (524513) | about 9 years ago | (#14554889)

Again, bullshit. Google is an informaiton company. Their entire existence is justified by making access to and use of information easier. If they censor that information based on the petty politics of nationalists (or any other political concern) then they are not serving their purpose.

They are not censoring their information, only the subset of it they present to Chinese audiences. As long as Google's services which claim to be uncensored actually are, then Google does serve their purpose - just not to the Chinese.

They are in fact reinforcing the policies of censorship and repression in China. If everyone, every company goes along with these policies then what motivation is there to change them?

China doesn't need Google's help to reinforce repressive policies. They're quite equipped to force these on their own.

Worthwhile?! (4, Interesting)

NETHED (258016) | about 9 years ago | (#14554768)

Didn't google used to stand for free information for all? Now its, free information for all, but if someone asks, we change the information. If I ask google about 'revolutions in China' I bet I get some answers that would be filtered in China. What ever happened to the 'WHOLE' Truth? I understand this company must abide by local laws, but why not just disable service to someone who does not wish to follow YOUR "don't be evil" strategy? How much money does Google really make in China? Is it worth selling out?

Short answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554819)


Long answer: We want every bit of our money foo!

Re:Worthwhile?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554825)

How about China drop it's censorship policies? That would be better considering it's 1.3 Billion people subject to censhorship laws. China has a long way to go before it can be called free.

Re:Worthwhile?! (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 9 years ago | (#14554835)

Censorship of information in China will be a messy deal for Google. Communist China is an interesting mix of ancient China, hyper-nationalism, pragmatism, Communism, paranoia, expansion and protection of traditional boundries. So what all might get blocked on Google.cn? Oh hell, anything about anyone but China owning the Spratley's, anything about the Republic of China, Tibet, the Dali Lama who isn't backed by the Chinese, and who knows what territory/expansion issue the Chinese might come up with in the next 5 to 20 years.

Re:Worthwhile?! (1)

superyanthrax (835242) | about 9 years ago | (#14554888)

"Is it worth selling out?"

In a word, yes. The market for internet services in China can potentially bigger than the market for internet services in the US, and much of it is still untapped.

New Google motto (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 9 years ago | (#14554779)

"Didn't used to be evil"

Nothing says they have to do business there. It seems, after some soul searching, they are putting profits ahead of 'do no evil'. If that were truly the motto, then they might tell China to insert it where the sun don't shine, and forgo that market.

Re:New Google motto (1)

monkaduck (902823) | about 9 years ago | (#14554857)

Yeah, but try telling the stockholders that.

Re:New Google motto (1)

alphakappa (687189) | about 9 years ago | (#14554979)

If the US government passes a law that mandates that Google along with other companies must provide detailed search results of any user that they demand, should Google and all these companies stop doing business (effectively close shop), or should they comply with the law of the land?

Yes, you can fight the law in courts, but when the law is finally decided, you have to abide by it if you want to do business in a country. In China, the government is the law, so there is no fight once they decide the law.

Net evil loss. (1)

Spazntwich (208070) | about 9 years ago | (#14554787)

Considering their censorship will likely be much less draconian than any implemented by Microsoft, they're doing the Chinese population a favor. If you consider that their other option is to not censor anything and have China block their entire domain, thus depriving the entire country of Google, they're at least giving them something.

Hmmmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554788)

"Don't be evil" can't work for any public company due to the laws of physics.

If I were Chinese... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554790)

I would be pissed off. Then again, I probably wouldn't be reading about this.

Slippery Slope (1)

Robocrap (652257) | about 9 years ago | (#14554794)

This is analogous to an alcoholic having "just one drink." Not only is it a slippery slope, but this one action has forever branded Google as a company that is willing to relinquish its core values for profit. The stock may be riding high, but my stock in Google just took a nose-dive.

Greed is Good(TM) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554799)

I have always believed in the motto:

Greed is Good(TM)

It is gratifying to know that even Google cannot overcome its inherent Greed and has finally succumbed to the profit motive.

Greed is the lifeblood of human societies. It drives humanity to realize its unlimited potential and it is probably the best of all virtues found in humanity.

Greed is responsible for the progress that Americans have made since independence. Without Greed, Americans could not have used slavery, manifest destiny, atomic bombs, financial markets, railroads, and other means to achieve its rightful place in the world.

What is good for Greed is good for America. What is good for Google is good for America.

Greed is Good(TM)

price. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554805)

This merely underlines that everyone has a price.

Re:price. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554861)

This is the most sincere answer I had seen in response. Kudos to you sir

In touch with the people (3, Funny)

malraid (592373) | about 9 years ago | (#14554810)

At least Google's management are in touch with the Chinese people, the make the same wage: $1. That's really taking into account the culture of the country!

Re:In touch with the people (3, Insightful)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | about 9 years ago | (#14554864)

That's not really a fair comparison, as Google's execs don't have to shell out for bullets for their relatives' executions.

Is it thier fault? (1)

dcapel (913969) | about 9 years ago | (#14554813)

It is local law, and google has no chance of changing it. Either they come, or someone else will, simple as that. No matter how unjust, or how much I disagree with a law, it is still the law. Google has almost no choice in the matter.

Its basicly be there and do something you don't want to, or watch someone else do it, to the exact same effect, except you don't get the money. Sound business tactics, but the situation is hardly their fault.

Re:Is it thier fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554985)

Or they could do the good thing and hack the Great Firewall of China to get their content through. If the people experience and demand it then the government, who is their servant not their leader, is required to change its policies.

Totalitarianism-Lite penis measuring contest (3, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | about 9 years ago | (#14554823)

Did China convince Google executives that they had huge penises, and that the Chinese weren't a threat because they have small penis?

I am sick and tired of the West sucking up to China. It seems China gets the best end of the bargain - they get the benefits of capitalism and trade with the west - but they get a free pass on democracy, and the West even helps them with their dictatorship and censorship needs.

So, I guess totalitarianism is bad, as long as a small, weak country is doing it. But "China very big" so, we have to do what China says.

Motherfuckers. Screw Google and all the other apologists.

Re:Totalitarianism-Lite penis measuring contest (1)

superyanthrax (835242) | about 9 years ago | (#14554923)

The majority of people in China would completely disagree with you for saying that "the West sucking up to China." The west is taking advantage of China just like China is taking advantage of the west. Why are consumer goods so cheap now? Because they're made in China, and in other places where the cost of labor and production is lower than it is in the states. The American consumer benefits greatly from trade with China, as do the American companies who engage in that trade, while Chinese companies are currently in the process of getting screwed by free trade. Many people who have been laid off from their jobs would love to go back to the era of Chairman Mao when everyone had a job and society was even.

Keep some things in mind... (1)

Alpha_Traveller (685367) | about 9 years ago | (#14554826)

This is Google we're talking about here. They typically find more than one way of delivering the same information. Are you telling me Google won't find a way around their agreement? If they get access to China (which I grant they sort of have already) they can work from within to foster change. Lastly, This is a business. If China intends to shut you out, do an end-run around. Agree without agreeing, and go do what you want to do, while putting on a good face.
It's not like Google doesn't have some of the smartest people in the world working for them right now.

Last I heard, Microsoft was ordered by China to give them the source code to Windows...did they ever comply? I seriously doubt it. Regardless they still make money in China. Google can do the same.

Re:Keep some things in mind... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 9 years ago | (#14554902)

Last I heard, Microsoft was ordered by China to give them the source code to Windows...did they ever comply? I seriously doubt it.

"Ordered" might be a strong word for it, but it seems they did [zdnet.com] .

To state the obvious (2, Insightful)

oquigley (572410) | about 9 years ago | (#14554829)

While I understand that Google's just a business, this seems to mark a fall from grace. It's kind of a pity. I respected them for their moral positions, not just for their products & services.

It also calls into question their motivations for resisting the Bush administrations requests. (reminds me of the old joke: Man asks a woman to have sex with him, she says forget it. He says "how about for a hundred thousand dollars". She consents, so he says "how about for ten dollars". She says "what kind of a girl do you think I am?". He replies "We've already established that, now we're just negotiating about price".


Those Google execs.... (1)

bootressp (859181) | about 9 years ago | (#14554832)

Just increased their salaries by 130,000,000,000 percent.

They're doing it for the Chinese People: (1)

MishgoDog (909105) | about 9 years ago | (#14554839)

Half a google is better than none!

They're selling the Chinese people down the river. (2, Insightful)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | about 9 years ago | (#14554844)

And you can bet your ass they'll do it to those of us in so-called "free" countries so long as the money's right. "Don't be evil" indeed.

Not too distant future... (5, Insightful)

DeadPrez (129998) | about 9 years ago | (#14554848)

Same _exact_ reasoning will apply to handing over search queries and associated user data to the US government.

New motto:
Do no evil unless governments compel you to if you want to stay in the market.

maybe.. (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | about 9 years ago | (#14554856)

Maybe they could toe the line very closely and repeatedly attempt to slip things past the Chinese government. It might be risky but "do no evil" isn't far off "try to undermine evil"

China needs to realize that democracy is not.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554859)

...their greatest threat.

Islam is.

Once Islam gets a foothold, it's all over. Russia needs to realize this too.

China is changing. (1)

B_un1t (942155) | about 9 years ago | (#14554877)

We need to realize that China is developing faster and faster because their government is slowly allowing free market business to thrive. If google can get in on the ground floor, they will be sitting on a goldmine down the road when the country will open up more (I wouldnt quite call that evil, just good business practice). Believe me, China is about to explode into every market of the global economy. Unfortunately, its up to the government to decide when to open the floodgates.

Are these the sacrifices Larry was talking about? (1)

loggia (309962) | about 9 years ago | (#14554878)

Each year thousands of Chinese citizens are put to death under a legal system plagued with corruption and secrecy. While the rest of the world moves toward abolition, Chinese authorities only continue to expand the application of the death penalty. According to reports, an average of 15,000 people per year were executed, judicially or extrajudicially, by the government between 1997 and 2001... [amnestyusa.org]

Re:Are these the sacrifices Larry was talking abou (0, Troll)

drDugan (219551) | about 9 years ago | (#14554964)

While the rest of the world moves toward abolition

What world do *you* live in? In the last 5 years since December 2000, the USA has been totally lost toward secrecy, corruption and breaking our own laws.

No Choice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554891)

An absurd statement - of course they have a choice. Google does not have to provide its services in China. In fact, not providing service would be a clear message that Google will not sacrifice its ethics for profit. Its nice Google uses "Don't be evil", now lets see them practice it.

Don't be bad (1)

eikonos (779343) | about 9 years ago | (#14554912)

The way I see it, this isn't Evil, but it's not Good either; it's somewhere in the middle. If Google didn't agree to censor results, China would just do it for them and China would probably do a much more diligent job. This way, there may be holes such as the Google cached page or whatever that will allow people in China to get around the restriction which they wouldn't be able to do if China just blocked Google at the Great Firewall. China isn't going to change its political system any time soon, but the more Western culture and business that manages to get into China the more it will (slowly) change.

Google did a great thing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554916)

Bravo to Google for going against the conventional wisdom. Don't you think that the Chinese people are going to see how much information there is out on the net, and how important it is, and then get seriously PO'd that a few topics are off-limits? I can think of no better way to stimulate someone's interest in something than to try to prevent access to it.

Eventually the Chinese officials will become less vigilant and information will start to flow through. This will happen sooner the more search engines there are for the authorities to keep an eye on. A search engine company that has revenue sources outside China will be in a better position to push the envelope.

People's search behavior will be very interesting to the authorities. If I were Chinese I would be a little more inclined to use a foreign search engine that would be less likely to hand over that information to the government. Google's recent action in the US along those lines sends the exactly right message.

Again, bravo to Google.

what are they censoring? (1)

RuiFerreira (791654) | about 9 years ago | (#14554921)

does anyone know? to all Chinese: elegoog! http://elgoog.rb-hosting.de/ [rb-hosting.de]

google? jeeze man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554939)

next you going to tell me the next windows will be named after a popular lunch sausage!

Nice Double Standard (1)

AnInkle (882630) | about 9 years ago | (#14554957)

So, the enlightened folks at Google have a problem cooperating with the US government in pursuing lawbreakers [toptechnews.com] , an arguably principled stand, but they have no problem cooperating with the Chinese dictatorship in suppressing the human rights of the Chinese people. Go figure.

Well well well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554958)

Oh noes! You mean 'Don't be evil' was just a marketing campaign? I'm shocked, SHOCKED I SAY!

crap vs cosha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14554961)

...well, if they comply with German and French censorship, it's not such a big deal to comply with Chinese censorship too.

At least they're not giving into the US government crackpots.

Personally, I don't think censorship isn't automatically a bad idea. For example, suddenly allowing people access to huge amounts of information could be a bad idea - especially of those same people have been used to believing everything they read. I mean, most of the information on the internet is *at least* biased (written from a westerner's 'head-up-arse' point of view), if not plain incorrect.

Increasingly allowing access while people get used to being able to descern crap from cosha is probably a very smart thing. No one can deny that access is being increased, rather than decreased.

Yes, access to google has been crap here (in China) for a while; most notably, Firefox's quick search does not work at all, and www.google.com is all Chinese and returns Chinese results. A little while ago, they even removed the 'Google in English' link too, but it was put back yesterday.

Wow what a choice (1)

panxerox (575545) | about 9 years ago | (#14554988)

Wow what a choice, be evil or be cut out of the defining market of the 21st century. China will not always be under communist rule its certain that there will be a government change eventually (although it will take alot longer with these controls in place) and Google needs to be there.

The pro-democracy dilemma (4, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | about 9 years ago | (#14554989)

If you want to spread democracy, is it better to simply not to business in anti-democratic countries or to do business on their terms?

That is a question that every pro-democracy person, company, and government has to make when it comes to anti-democratic countries like China.

The answer, as with much of life, varies with the individual circumstances.
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