Friday, January 27, 2006

Google To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right...

...and here am I stuck in the middle with you?

Google over on their Official Blog Site gave an explanation as why they had to launch a local search engine in China.

(Official Google Blog) Google users in China today struggle with a service that, to be blunt, isn't very good. appears to be down around 10% of the time. Even when users can reach it, the website is slow, and sometimes produces results that when clicked on, stall out the user's browser. Our Google News service is never available; Google Images is accessible only half the time. At Google we work hard to create a great experience for our users, and the level of service we've been able to provide in China is not something we're proud of.

This problem could only be resolved by creating a local presence, and this week we did so, by launching, our website for the People's Republic of China. In order to do so, we have agreed to remove certain sensitive information from our search results. We know that many people are upset about this decision, and frankly, we understand their point of view. This wasn't an easy choice, but in the end, we believe the course of action we've chosen will prove to be the right one.

Although I was not too thrilled about Google's decision to violate their own mission statement "Don't be evil," (something they humbly admit to later on in the article) their explanation as why they allowed their search engine to be filtered does clear up some issues regarding why they choose to play "internet nanny" (at least on a minor scale).

Some well respecting bloggers have decided to remove Google Ad Sense from their sites until they begin to provide "unfiltered searches" towards the Communist regime. Although they are entitled to their opinion, I will not be joining the bandwagon as Google is not as powerful as a government (despite the myths) and Congress is already addressing the issue as I type.

To be fair, Google has put a little disclaimer at the bottom of their Chinese site, explaining that results are filtered, although I think they should place that near the top IN RED to alert their current and future users.

I am glad that they are not placing Blogger, Gmail and (hopefully) even Orkut within the Red Dragon's grasp, as that would make me abandon Google forever.

Only time will tell whether Google searches will be liberated from governmental intrusion (both foreign and domestic). Until then, I hope we all learn from this sad situation and I pray it is a wake up call to Americans that our liberties are privileges indeed, as our brethren around the world can only view life through a filtered lens.


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