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Thursday, January 4, 2007

Google Teams Up With China Mobile

Google in early 2006 promised they’ll “be making significant and growing investments in China”, with their self-censored Google China search engine being “a necessary first step”. Following up on their promise, Google now announced a partnership with China Mobile in a (buzzword bingo-enabled) press release. Basically, Google will power the search engine for China Mobile’s WAP portal “Monternet” to find content like “sports and entertainment news, ringtones, games, images, videos and novels.”

I’m not sure if Google brings along their infamous censorship module, too. E.g. below you can see a Google mobile image search for the words tiananmen square with to the left side (the one with the happy tourists), and to the right (the one with the tanks)*:

The Chinese disclaimer at the bottom not only reads “Pages may have been adapted for your mobile phone” like its English counterpart, but also “due to local laws or customs, some results are missing” – proof that with the right technology makers, propaganda is cross-platform.

*Note that censorship isn’t just restricted to the top 3 results – there isn’t a single tank image at all to be seen in Google China’s mobile search results for this query (I’ve checked result 1 - 36, after which they stop).
By the way, the more specific search for [tiananmen square massacre] does not return a single result nor censorship disclaimer in (with Chinese language browser settings), vs 278 results on
(For more information on the Tiananmen Square protests, see Wikipedia. Naturally, this is just a single case of many, many censored pages.)

[Thanks Michael K.!]


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