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Google's Schmidt Clears The Air

Corsin Camichel [PersonRank 10]

Friday, March 17, 2006
13 years ago

news.yahoo.com/s/zd/20060317/t ...

Topics are:
* China and Censorship
* Ads Are the Growth Engine
* Moving to Video
* Competing with Microsoft (or not, edited by me)
* Working With Time Warner and AOL
* Net neutrality and other topics

worth a read. And no LEGO this time

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

> [Schmidt] said the decision of how to act in China was
> "one of the most controversial decisions the company
> has ever made," and it took over a year of internal
> arguments before the company came out with its
> policies. "It is a hard call, but it is a clear call" to
> do business in China, he said

How can it be both one of the hardest decisions they ever made and a clear call?

> Overall he said, the advertising industry in china
> is quite nascent, so there are very small amounts
> of revenue at stake

Small amounts of revenue at stake when it's about "[f]ailing to offer Google search at all to a fifth of the world's population," as the official Google Blog put it? Are they incredibly short-sighted or just overmodest here? A fifth of the world population is potentially incredibly revenue if you start building a brand for this population today, even when this may be future revenue.

> but what is more
> important is giving the Chinese people access
> to as much information as possible as quickly
> as possible.

What if the Chinese gov't decides that now there's a Google.cn, they can safely block Google.com without fearing loud protests from the Chinese? Doesn't that mean the Chinese searchers will be deprived of one important source which at leasts let them know *which* of the results their gov't blocks (because they can at least read the title, snippet and URL)?

> To those who talk about embargoing filtering technology
> to China or other regimes that restrict political information,
> Schmidt said that personally (not as a Google executive) he
> was instructed by the example of Cuba. He said the embargo
> there hasn't worked, with Castro still in power, and with the
> Cuban people living with technology from the 1950s.

Interesting point.

> "The technology we have is incredibly
> empowering to citizens," he said.

So was Google.com. How is Google.cn more empowering? Just because it's up 10% more?

> Schmidt said Google got more attention
> than others about its role in China, because
> of the company's size and position on the
> net.

Who is he kidding? Google gets more attention because of their self-proclaimed "do no evil" philosophy!

or [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Let me say first off that I disagree with google censoring, however....

Philip, when Eric Schmidt says the Advertising industry, he is not simply referring to the amount of people to click on ads, but the amount of local advertisers – companies in China buying advertising, and local partners and networks which is by all accounts not much when compared to other countries. And he is speaking of present conditions.

When you discuss something controversial for over a year; yes, the solution can become clear. Have you never thought about something that was a hard decision and then after spending some time thinking about it, the solution became clear to you.

Google's "don't be evil" policy actually served this debate well; in that, without it this would not have become such a big topic of discussion. Yahoo have been censoring for years, but it was not talked about nearly as much(even though they have done worst things -such as giving up email records to China causing jailings.). Google's disclosure on the google.cn search engine, can have a similar effect. Despite google's wrong moves there, I think like the "don't be evil" policy, the disclosure can serve as a disruptive influence (since, at least in theory, Chinese users will see everytime something was censored.).

Chinese users can still access the international version of google, right? So google.cn is meant for better service since google.com is often blocked. The Chinese gov. wouldn't care much whether or not there was a google.cn, they would block google anyway, anytime they wanted to.

I don't think they should have done the censoring, but I can see how they reasoned it out. And before we can convince anyone they are wrong, we got to understand their thinking behind why they believe they made the right choice. I think Eric Schmidt actually believes his own lines, and is not intentionally trying to deceive.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

> The Chinese gov. wouldn't care much whether
> or not there was a google.cn, they would block
> google anyway, anytime they wanted to.

I think that's not true – the Chinese gov't actually did block Google.com a while ago before and there was a public outcry making them revert their decision a little later. Will there be a public outcry now there's a Google.cn? Still likely, but less so.
wired.com/wired/archive/11.01/ ...

> Despite google's wrong moves there, I think like
> the "don't be evil" policy, the disclosure can serve
> as a disruptive influence (since, at least in theory,
> Chinese users will see everytime something
> was censored.).

The censorship disclaimer is there, but in a position most people won't notice it when looking at the results. Around 20% see the 10th result according to some studies, we can assume even less see what's below it:
eyetools.com/inpage/research_g ...

I'm not saying Google does everything wrong in China. In fact, they're doing a lot more right than e.g. Yahoo. But if you measure both Yahoo and Google by their *own proclaimed* standards, then it's Google I see losing out... because Yahoo never handed out any "don't be evil" policies.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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