Friday, January 27, 2006

Memo Re Google in China

Here's text I just posted to a private Forum I frequent. The Forum question was about recent news reports, of Google collaborating with aliens to dumb down its search engine service.

I think Google should play by American rules, meaning Bill of Rights and First Amendment. I didn't like it when Microsoft pulled that Chinese blog either, because it offended certain readers in China. Many other readers in China, including a small following of journalists, loved that blog, and were deeply hurt that Microsoft would get involved in Chinese politics, and side with some ruling faction against them.

If Chinese authorities want to dumb down the Google service, they shouldn't expect Google to do this work for them. They should build a new franchise, with pass-through to Google, and censoring of what comes back. This franchise should not use Google trademarks, except maybe to confess to clients that they're piggy-backing on a back end by some other company (truth in advertising).

Or you could just appoint some government minder to stand behind every Chinese student who wants to Google up Tiananmen Square, and use a cudgel.

See Wikipedia: Tiananmen_Square_protest_of_1989.

But it's the Chinese themselves who need to pay for all that extra manpower. Google has enough to do without worrying about local censorship rules. Push that off onto the clients, leave Google free to not dumb down its own service.

Addendum: please feel free to send an email to Google if you're in China and can't google up this Blogspot post, Blogger being a Google service. Cc me if you like. Use my Gmail address.