I have to confess – I find the growing situation between Google and China to be very interesting both in terms of an ethical and business standpoint. In short, the situation is this:
In the past, the Chinese government required Google to sensor search results on topics they find objectionable. Last Monday, Google began sending Web searchers in mainland China from the China-based Google.cn to Google.com.hk based in Hong Kong where an “open” Internet is available. On Tuesday the Chinese government responded, using Internet filters to prevent results from being displayed for certain search topics. For example, searches related to pro-democracy returned errors saying the page couldn’t be displayed and in certain cases, the web browser disconnected for a short time. Clearly Google risks significant revenue by taking the stand they have, yet they’ve also likely gained quite a bit of respect from many users. In my opinion the situation is a game of “chicken” presently. The Chinese government hasn’t prohibited Google from doing business in China and Google hasn’t stopped censoring searches on the Google.cn domain. Yet, the situation is definitely tenuous. So what would you do if you were Google? Their stock dropped 1.5% this week on news that they’re effectively “thumbing” their nose at potentially the largest market. Interesting. Very Interesting.
A ton of information exists about this topic. I’ve included a few links below – silently glad that none of them are sensored…
Google services available in mainland China: http://www.google.com/prc/report.html#hl=en
General information: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100323/ap_on_hi_te/as_china_google
Google co-founder Sergey Brin urges US to act over China web censorship: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/mar/24/google-china-sergey-brin-censorship