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Friday, May 5, 2006

Google Zurich Interviewed

PCTipp interviewed Site Lead of Google Zurich, Max Ibel (the interview’s in German). Max says Google Zurich is a sort of “mini Mountain View,” doing all things the Googleplex HQ does but in smaller scale. Max was also questioned on the Chine censorship issue. Here’s his reply (my translation & emphasis):

We had strong discussions on this issue internally. But we were thinking: what are the options we have? It’s not an option to go to China and ignore local laws, as that would have threatened the security of our employees. A second option: we can argue that we want to boycott certain countries. But would it help the users when they aren’t able to use our services? I don’t think so. Of course there are also economic reasons for this, but not exclusively. And after all, we’re telling users exactly which results need to be censored according to Chinese laws.

Was this the first time Google officially stated that economic reasons played a role in their decision to enter China? On a side-note, Max argues that the options were to either boycott China or follow Chinese regulations – in reality, there was also the option to deliver a 90% working service to Chinese users from outside China (90% working according to Google’s own estimates). After all this is what Google did for years.

[Thanks Corsin Camichel.]


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