Insane - Unquestioning Heirarchical Auto

Google -- Remember your motto!

As some of you may know, Google's corporate motto is "Don't Be Evil". Maybe that's their corporate motto for others, but not for themselves. Check out these side-by-side comparisons of Google image searches for "Tiananmen" on their normal image search and the one they provide for China.

Obviously "Don't Be Evil" doesn't apply when massive profits are at stake. Or maybe objecting to censorship is just a cultural prejudice.
  • Current Mood: cynical cynical
  • Current Music: David Bowie | Ziggy Stardust
Yes, I was all happy with them for resisting the US govt, and now they have disappointed me by capitulating to the Chinese govt.
Whoa now - I thought the Chinese gov't imposes filters after Google provides search results. No?
Well, !!!

Thanks. Still not sure where I got that particular piece of misinformation. I am awake in the morning when I listen to NPR (or at least I thought I was ...).
Well, it's sort of moot. If they hadn't capitulated, I seriously doubt China would've allowed them their official china.cn slot. And if they piss off the chinese government, Google'll just end up blocked.
Of course!
The answer is to give the Chinese people as few options and as little information as possible.

Oh wait, thats what their government is already doing.

Lets hear it for becoming what we don't like! Huzzah.
Re: Of course!
I believe there's a substantial difference between maintaining a principled stance that results in an indirect ban versus direct censorship. I also believe that cynically submitting to oppressive demands in the spirit of practical compromise, in the long run, is not the answer.

If every other major search company took such a stand, perhaps China would be forced to capitulate to remain competitive with the rest of the world's availability of information. Or perhaps they'd have to employ more elaborate means of censorship. Guess we'll never know.
Re: Of course!
In situations where the available market refuses to play by China's rules, China simply creates their own internal market and technology. Often better, and always cheaper, for that matter.

They developed alternatives to VCD, DVD, and are developing a new alternative to HD-DVD, as well. See also their technology, currently under development as alternatives for: 3G mobile phone/data, WPA crypto, and others.
Re: Of course!
That's interesting, though international information search is certainly a different ball of wax. In any event, I'd prefer the onus of censorship fall on their shoulders, and not Google's.
Re: Of course!
The onus of censorship, does in fact fall on China's broad governmental shoulders. They determine what is and is not "appropriate" for Google to disseminate. Google is simply complying.

In my opinion, Google has done no harm, in this incident. They have complied with governmental rules in order to enter the Chinese market. They have done these same things in the German, and French markets, (as has eBay, for instance) that censor searches that would return items in violation of those countries' laws. (pro-Nazi pages, Nazi memorabilia, etc)
Re: Of course!
That's an interesting way of looking at it. I suppose that when it comes to bigotry, I'm not quite as worried about a little censorship every now and then. I'll have to think about that because that really does imply a double standard on my part, particularly since I would want to apply my standard of bigotry.
I'm not entirely sure. That would require knowledge of the future, in both legs of the Trousers Of Time.
Hate to sound callous, but big deal
So here is the deal:

1. EVERY major search company in China kow-tows to this particular policy.
2. People aren't crying over the fact that Yahoo, MSN, etc does this
3. See #1

It is unfortunate that China is the way it is, but lets look at the situation going on here. Look at Cuba for example, there we've had years long economic embargos of various kinds and have they changed at all? Hardly. We are unable to apply similar economic pressure on China as a country because we depend on imports far too much now. If Google didn't do what China wanted, then China would just have had MSN and Yahoo pickup the slack. Or worse China would start building its own search engine. I would rather have M/Y/G in there then something that was Red China from the ground up. Furthermore, Google would have lost out on revenues not to mention brand awareness and other not inconsequential benefits.

The only reason that people moan and bitch about this is because Sergey said that stupid "Do no evil" soundbite during a Nightline or 20/20 interview I recall. Google is a business and its going to act like one, period. I dont care what the supposed motto, vision statement, etc claims its run by people.

As an aside, if you want business in this country to stop acting so horribly, then you need to start off by smacking upside the head most of Wall Street and the investment banking community who keeps demanding that public companies keep making continuous double-digit growth rates in perpituity whereas it used to be if you were a public company that had stead revenue with consistent profit that was good enough. Now consistent profit is seen as stale, ungrowing, lacking prospects to line shareholder pockets through continued dividend windfalls.

Besides, lets go with the supposition you wanted to protest this, what are you going to do? Stop using Google? Switch to MSN? Yahoo? Please. This is a human rights movement masked in tech's clothing. Moaning about it isn't going to make Google change its mind, nor is it going to change the mind or policies of the Chinese Communists.

Just some food for thought. The whole "Do no evil" motto is a sham. I'm sure Sergey tries to follow that motto as best as he can, but is a public company and with the fucking outrageous P/E ratio GOOG is at they are going to have to do near inhuman amounts of growth over the next 10-15 years just to make the sharks in Wall Street happy because those same sharks have put GOOG stock on such ridiculous terms that it can only fail to meet "expected profits" from the crack smoking analysts that somehow pull 40%+ year over year growth numbers out of their ass to justify GOOG's price.

So yeah, this is a non-story.
Re: Hate to sound callous, but big deal
Very well stated. I agree with you vitually point-for-point.

Especially on the issue of the american financial markets. As a first-hand victim of the collapse of Enron, I espouse the same viewpoints as you've stated above.
It seems like there is also an element of Western media bias here. To an American, the Tiananmen Square protests and government crack-down are probably the only real associations with the place of that name. But to a Chinese citizen, the square would likely be associated with a much richer cultural memory, including possibly some the idyllic scenes in those pictures. I'm not trying to excuse the whole thing, just to draw a comparison. Imagined if a Chinese citizen Googled Seattle and just got a bunch of coverage of the WTO riots... obviously we would feel compelled to point out that there is much more to Seattle than that.
It's a matter of exclusion versus priority. It's not as though Google in the states (and the world other than China) *only* shows the protests, but it does *include* them (as well as the other images that the Chinese service provides).
While the Economist wasn't thrilled, they took a solid pragmatic approach. I don't read Cantonese, but apparently they were able (for the time being) to hash out an agreement that the page would also include a disclaimer that results had been surpressed. Even censored returns get more information out to the average consumer than no returns at all.
whoa.
Check out what happens when you choose Chinese Simplified:

"According to the local law laws and regulations and the policy, the part searches the result not to demonstrate. You are not must look: Tiananmen"

Funny coincidence (emphasis added, obviously).