free html hit counter Ugh. This Just Doesn't Feel Good, Does It? - John Battelle's Search Blog

Ugh. This Just Doesn't Feel Good, Does It?

By - January 27, 2006

Who wants to have stories like this written? It just feels so … wrong.

A day after Google’s buggy censorship of sites for Chinese-users was revealed, the search giant has responded by fixing its filters so topics such as beer and jokes are no longer deleted.


investigation published Thursday by CNET showed that Google’s new China search engine not only censored criticisms of the Chinese government, but went further than similar services from Microsoft and Yahoo by targeting sites related to teen pregnancy, alcohol, dating and homosexuality.

On Friday morning, however, those previously verboten sites became available through That brings Google’s filtering in line with blacklists used by Microsoft and Yahoo.

But it’s worse. For more, read Gary, and Philipp. In short, Google used to have a page in its help area that said this:


But now it says this:


Update: Google explains its policy of engagement here.

Update 2: Google’s new explanation of its censorship policy is up (SEW).

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8 thoughts on “Ugh. This Just Doesn't Feel Good, Does It?

  1. Ruben says:

    Seems like the herd is down on google for now. It’s refreshing to see articles like this

  2. I remember making a post here some time ago, about the whole “make no evil” thing, and the founder’s philosophy, and my concern of so much “control” (i.e. personal info) in one bucket. The founder’s philosophy is all good, and I respect them for that, but what concerned me is when things are no longer on their hands, and how philosophies can change due to business/market ($) pressures. The recent news just confirms what I was trying to say… It was not about “if”, but “when” this would happen, and I have to admit, it has happened must quicker that I had expected…


  3. Teddie says:

    I saw the original ‘results are completely automated’ FAQ, and it’s bothered me immensely since when the stuff came out and Matt admitted that the results were human reviewed, which is the accepted case with most search engines these days.

    So why would Google always claim it was completely automated?

  4. JG says:

    Document not found?

    No problem. Simply check the Google cache for that page. It’s legal now. ROTFLMAO.

  5. mcconnell says:

    How to Subvert China’s Google Firewall – Falun Goog Style Sometimes it takes a village of Chinese immigrants in America to subvert China’s Google firewall.

  6. Cap'n Ken says:

    So what’s up in the Google Official Blog statement about censoring:

    “And yes, Chinese regulations will require us to remove some sensitive information from our search results. When we do so, we’ll disclose this to users, just as we already do in those rare instances where we alter results in order to comply with local laws in France, Germany and the U.S.”

    “… and the U.S.”? What are they “altering” based on “local laws” here in the U.S.?

  7. Gen Kiyooka says:

    I sense a market opportunity for a new search engine that doesn’t give a lick about the politics in the huge country of China.

  8. quanta says:

    Cap’n Ken, Google censors out search results in the Land of the Free that the US government believes are violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).