I’ve written a lot about Google and its decision in China – I’ve always thought that the company had a chance to lead here, but talked itself into doing what everyone else has done. In fact, back when Google was just getting into China, I wrote:
The Real Irony Here…is that Google is, for the first time, being a content editor. I’ve written extensively about how Google, by its very DNA, does not like to be an editor of content. But in China, it’s doing exactly that.
Google’s first big editing job? Deciding which sites to exclude because they might offend the Chinese government.
There’s still time to pull out, guys. I’ve read your rationalizations, and Uncle Bill’s as well. I don’t buy them. I don’t buy that this is what, in your heart, you believe is right. Sure, I understand the logic. But, well….in your heart, is this what you wanted to do? No? Then why did you do it?
Now comes this news from the AP: “Brin says Google compromised principles.”
From the story:
Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin acknowledged Tuesday the dominant Internet company has compromised its principles by accommodating Chinese censorship demands. He said Google is wrestling to make the deal work before deciding whether to reverse course.
Meeting with reporters near Capitol Hill, Brin said Google had agreed to the censorship demands only after Chinese authorities blocked its service in that country.
…Google’s China-approved Web service omits politically sensitive information that might be retrieved during Internet searches, such as details about the 1989 suppression of political unrest in Tiananmen Square. Its agreement with China has provoked considerable criticism from human rights groups.
“Perhaps now the principled approach makes more sense,” Brin said….Brin said Google is trying to improve its censored search service, Google.cn, before deciding whether to reverse course. He said virtually all the company’s customers in China use the non-censored service.
“It’s perfectly reasonable to do something different, to say, ‘Look, we’re going to stand by the principle against censorship and we won’t actually operate there.’ That’s an alternate path,” Brin said. “It’s not where we chose to go right now, but I can sort of see how people came to different conclusions about doing the right thing.”
My goodness. My My My.
Recall what Eric Schmidt said just a short five weeks ago? “Eric Schmidt, the Google chief executive, used the recent relaunch of the company’s brand in China to reaffirm his commitment to the territory and made it clear that Google has no intention of confronting China’s ruling Communist Party over online restrictions.”
My my my.