Strong opinions, weakly held

Google and China

Google has been catching lots of flack this week for creating a version of their search engine for the Chinese market (at google.cn), and capitulating to the censorship demands of the Chinese government. They’ve explained their reasons for doing so at the Official Google Blog. I’ve been giving this matter a lot of thought this week, and the reason I haven’t had anything to say is that I am still not entirely sure what I think about this complex issue.

I don’t think that what Google did is evil. I don’t think it’s admirable, either. I think that it would have been evil for Google to censor the results from google.com for Chinese users. As it stands now, if a person in China can figure out a way to do so, they can see uncensored information from Google. If they use google.cn, they’ll see the results that the Chinese government deems OK. So Google hasn’t taken anything away from anyone by launching google.cn. I’m not proud of Google at this point, but I’m not angry at them either. I reserve the right to change my mind.


  1. I was in India in December. Whenever I browsed google.com from there, it redirected me to http://www.google.co.in/. I didn’t try to get around it, and just assumed it was routing me to physically closer servers and giving India-targetted advertising, options for Indian languages, etc… Do any of these other Googles alos censor search results?

  2. Shades of Grey

    I have mixed feelings regarding Google’s agreement to censor search results. Like most everyone, I object to censorship of alternative opinions and see the existence of alternative opinions as an important tool to democratize totalitarian regimes. O…

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