Buried Headline: Google Caved

The nauseating Lebron James-induced headlines this morning buried a story that has intrigued me for some time.

Google vs. China.  The world’s largest search engine vs. the government of the world’s most populous country.

I wrote about this in Media Bullseye a few months ago (Is Google Really the Good Guy?) when, in January 2010, Google took what appeared to be a principled stand regarding Internet censorship – oh – and that their servers were hacked from China too.  It was Google vs. China and the company placed a ten gallon white hat atop its head, let’s again remember, that they company AGREED to the Chinese government’s censorship policy when the entered the Chinese market.  Period.  Full stop.  And today?

ZDNet reports that Google’s license to operate in China will be renewed.  What?  I thought that they were redirecting all searches to a server outside of China where the results are not subject to censorship?

Nope.

ZDNet writes:

The Google.cn home page now offers only a link to its “uncensored” Hong Kong site, but those searches are easily traced and China’s firewall can then censor the results. Services other than search are still run out of China. No Google user searching in the Chinese language can thus access information about anything the government decides, on its whim, the people should not know about. That was the government’s position all along. That position has been upheld.”

I am a bottom line sort of guy, so let’s cut to the chase.  Google screamed and pulled out, but not really.  Any link can be blocked in China.  The U.S. government howled, but Google never pulled out of China completely.  And today, very quietly, Google gets their license renewed.

Google seemed principled, but never bailed completely.  In fact, they resorted to a public relations stunt backed up by a half-assed solution, which, in the end, was not where they ended up – right back to mainland China censorship.

Google – shame on you.  Shame on you.

Mark

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