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Brin: Wrestling With Censorship Demands, Possible Changes?  (View post)

/pd [PersonRank 10]

Wednesday, June 7, 2006
13 years ago6,556 views

Yes, this is going to hunt the google establishment.. they are no cornered into the backwall.. as it hunts Yahoo and msft too.. likewise CISCO and other teclo operators.....

theres also another viewpoint from within the CFW

english.people.com.cn/200606/0 ...

Conrad Barski [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

Good for Brin! The China censorship issue was a very difficult decision and, no matter how you look at it, they chose the less moral option... If they truly follow up and reverse their policy on China I will have to cease my usual cynicism and admit that Google may truly be a _moral_ company!

Go Brin! Go Google!

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

pd: You mean "haunt"

Anyway, I'm skeptical. Talk is cheap. He can pick up lots of good PR merely by saying he's thinking about it.

Sam Davyson [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Ooo permalinks from the post title... I think I would prefer it if it didn't underline on hover but it is handy all the same.

Travis Harris [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Well, you would think that their PR people would never let him say that unless they think there is a strong chance that they are going to revert the decision.

Do we know if Google.com is still blocked in China? Could this have been in response to Brin's statement? Could this all be a catalyst for the breakdown of relations between Google and China?

Support Freedom! [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Brin is perhaps trying a bit of hardball--threatening Beijing with pulling out, hoping that THEY blink and unblock the real Google to avoid world media attention focusing again on China's hideous censorship.

Other possibilities would be just be a hollow PR response to the real Google being censored, as Seth says above; or perhaps genuine frustration and second thoughts by Brin from Google being blocked and the whole ethical compromise in assisting censorship.

If they really do pull out of China, this will be major and not only will the news echo around China fast, but perhaps some other tech companies will follow--or look even more evil if they stay. Brin did indicate pulling out is unlikely: "It's not where we chose to go right now".

However he meant it, it's refreshing to see there's some regret. You'll never see that from the usual corporate executive!

Sure would be nice to see "Do no evil" re-born!

Trogdor [PersonRank 6]

13 years ago #

Agreed. This makes me think more highly of him, and of Google in general. So the cynic in my wonders if this is the point (improve G's image in my mind), as opposed to something real.

It would be refreshing to see Google pull out of China, and in the ensuing uproar, to see other companies do so, too, so that they look less evil.

Which would then force our insane politicians to actually face the China issue, instead of their usual doublespeak. I go with what Brett Tabke said on this:

"Dear Washington: Get over it, or change your damnable trade laws THAT YOU MADE ... Let the boys in California do business and quit trying to make political capital out of a less than ideal situation ... It is not up to (GOOG,MSFT,YHOO,CSCO) to fight our national battles or more precisely – the battles you don't have the nads to fight where you should be fighting. If you have a problem with the way China is doing business, then take it up in Beijing."

from the 2/15 entry of the Bot Blog: webmasterworld.com/robots.txt

Euphrosyne [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

I agree with "Support Freedom!", I think what they said is mostly right. To me it is ridiculous to debate issues like this one while pretending that all of the relevant issues are openly displayed, "on the table" so to speak. There are major politics involved here and anytime politics is involved, there will be backroom scheming and planning (on both sides, for good or bad).

Brin is no idiot and he may well be making a power play toward Beijing here. It would also be insulting to suppose that the Google execs didn't forsee this contingency--that google.com would be blocked entirely after google.cn was established--and had plans to deal with it in advance. Now the CCP has to play a much more delicate game if they want to avoid the global spotlight.

Also, this ongoing episode is unique in its ability to show that Chinese citizens vastly prefer the slow, unreliable google.com to the quick-but-censored google.cn. If I were a political mastermind at Google interested in political change in China, this would be a dream statistic (I'd love to see the actual percentages). What clearer way is there to show the world that Chinese citizens dislike their government's censorship system? (And who else but Google is in a position to make this a global news issue? Certainly not MS or Yahoo, who have proven they have the position but not the corporate courage.)

I haven't lost faith in Google as quickly as some others, because I'm willing to wait and see how the unseen forces involved play out.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

I think a core statement here is: virtually all Chinese users prefer the non-censored Google. Maybe Google saw their statistics, and maybe they realized that people anywhere would rather have a 90% working but objective Google* than a 100% working but censored Google. There is value in seeing what your gov't censors, even if you can't see the page itself.

* 90% uptime were Google's estimates. googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/0 ...

iZeitgeist [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

>There is value in seeing what your gov't censors, even if you can't see the >page itself.

Agree!!

Strange my opinion about Google in China changed from what I thought first.

sasha.kunis@gmail.com [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

Unfortunately, I think it's just talk. Brin said recently that Google's reputation was "certainly" hurt by all of the negative PR it received following China. Does anyone actually think that Google will pull out of such a huge market? I don't think so. Brin is just playing clean-up man, and he'll probably bait us with this "we might reverse our decision" crap for the next year or two. Ultimately, it's a money decision, and unless Google is actually losing money by being in China, they're staying.

This doesn't change my opinion of Google at all. It does alter my opinion of Brin; he's just as smooth and manipulative as any politician. Maybe he should stay in DC and try to get a job.

Euphrosyne [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

I can't agree with such unleavened cynicism, Sasha. Google is public now but Page and Brin stil have voting control--unlike with most corporations--and there is considerable evidence that they think that both the company and themselves as individuals have "enough" money. Certainly money is involved and is a major consideration, but it's not the only issue. Stereotypical "corporate greed" is really shareholder greed more than executive greed, but shareholder discontent isn't a major issue in this case. Page and Brin can't be voted out regardless of what they choose to do.

It should be interesting to follow in any case.

sasha.kunis@gmail.com [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

What "considerable" evidence is there that they feel that way about money? Their second IPO? Taking business to China in the first place? Expanding their business in any way, shape or form that they can? Google is nothing if not ambitious.

Regarding "voting": China clearly wasn't a Larry-and-Sergey-only decision, and taking Google out of China isn't going to be, either. It's just not that simple.

For the record, I'm not a cynic-- I'm a realist. For me, Google lost its golden sheen a long time ago.

Mahlon [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

Google's mission puts them on a collision course with Microsoft, with the telcos, with governments, and with privacy groups. Until now, Google's most potent weapon in these conflicts was its image and the trust people place in the Google brand.

To the extent Google's image has been tarnished by the censorship hypocrisy, so has Google's ability to compete against vastly larger competitors and to have any credibility in the privacy wars.

Ending active censorship of political thought is morally right. It's an impossible contradiction to build a business based on free, unbiased information while simultaneously building the world's most efficient censorship engine.

But it's not only morally right. Publicly ending censorship would generate a tidal wave of positive press, and once again make Google known worldwide as trustworthy and unbiased. It would provide a bright distinction between Google and their less-principled competitors. And in the wars Google will fight in the next few years, they'll need every bit of trust they can muster.

iZeitgeist [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

This is stupid,

But coudn't Sergey Brin admit that they were evil in China in a day other than 06/06/06 ?

Coincidence ? Conspiracy ?

iZeitgeist [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Are they trying to hint to us next time they will be evil is 06/06/2106 ?

Google celebrating Evil Day, with the logo thingy and all, lool ,-)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Well put Mahlon.

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

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