Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Google censoring China search results

Much has been made recently of Google's decision to censor China's search results as per the request of their government. Searching Google's Blog Search for 'google china censor' turns up 4 481 results as of now, which means that it's certainly made an impact on the 'blogosphere' (not that anyone gives a shit). However, it is quite interesting to take a look at the search results offered to the Chinese in comparison to the vanilla results, for example:

Apparently, this is the first image that comes to the mind of the Chinese government when presented with the phrase 'Tiananmen':

Tiananmen according to Google China

However, the image presented by the international version of Google looks a little more like this:

Tiananmen according to Google International

So, there's obviously a little bit of what could be called "foul play" going on.

I really don't have that strong a standpoint on this - even assuming that Google prevents access to any other version of the search results than for Chinese users, I still don't see what the big deal is. At least Google is providing a service in China - basically their only other option is to get blocked from China entirely, since it's the governments fault. However, a lot of people feel differently. You might want to have a look at the Slashdot articles on the topic, since there's a wide range of opinions presented in the comments, some of them quite insightful:

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