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dpworkin's avatar

Google to close down Chinese operations? What's your reaction.

Asked by dpworkin (27005points) January 12th, 2010

Google announced today that after a major cyber attack (apparently under the aegis of the Chinese Government) that it will stop censoring search results in China, and may stop doing business there altogether. I think this is a kind or corporate bravery. How about you?

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18 Answers

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cbloom8's avatar

It is certainly brave, and it concretely illustrates Google’s stand on such matters. Good for them.

dpworkin's avatar

@UScitizen If you love your country, and are concerned about our economy and our geopolitical well-being, you should care.

filmfann's avatar

It’s too bad. Google was a good ambassador for information, and the supression of information in China is awful. Yes, they had changed their search engine specs for the Chinese, and the internet is not as easily accessed there, but it was a step in the door.

oratio's avatar

I am not sure of what to make of this. One of the biggest changes in the history of the Internet is happening now, when the Internet addressing system is going from latin based to international characters, and the market of china is growing into the biggest market in the world. It doesn’t sound right, that they would pull out. But, it sounds like they are putting down the foot. Which is good.

If it will have any effect, I am not sure, but maybe it can help them renegotiate with the government.

wildpotato's avatar

My reaction was simply “Wow.” I am glad that Google can take action in line with their ideals, particularly because I also share those ideals. However, filmfann’s reaction seems the more practical – on an individual level, this can only hurt the ability of the average Chinese person trying to access information.

buckyboy28's avatar

Microsoft must be tap-dancing. That means that maybe someone will be using Bing now.

dpworkin's avatar

Well, as I understand it, first they are going to try to operate with NO censorship. That’s what is happening now: all filters are down!

dpworkin's avatar

Microsoft has agreed to censor in China, so no one will use them as long as Google stays up.

oratio's avatar

There are so many search services out there, and the chinese have their own ones as well. Baidu for one. It just seems Google needs china more than china needs Google. It will be interesting to see what the Chinese reaction will be.

wundayatta's avatar

The Chinese will soon block Google. The Chinese with the know-how have long known how to get around official censorship. Shutting down a portal doesn’t stop the flow of information. However it will stop the flow of business.

If the Chinese government unleashed an attack on Google, one has to wonder why. Clearly there is some kind of war going on. The question is whether it is a political war or a business war. My bet is that it is a business war. The Chinese are trying to get their search service more business. They are trying to keep Chinese spending in China.

That’s just my uninformed two cents.

dpworkin's avatar

Thanks, @daloon. Hadn’t thought about that aspect. It’ll be interesting to see what new facts hit the net.

wundayatta's avatar

Well, according to the Google Press Release, it’s about human rights, and Chinese attempts to gain access to the email accounts of human rights activists. They say, ”The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.

Google says it is about freedom of speech and that they can no longer support censorship. The Chinese will shut them down. Still, I can’t believe that the words of a few people are what is driving this. But what do I know?

Factotum's avatar

Google has earned my respect. Working with (and thereby aiding) totalitarians is sometimes inevitable but never admirable.

eeveegurl's avatar

@daloon – They’ve already started. When I was in Beijing for the holidays, Google was blocked for about 5 minutes at a time, every so often. Sometimes it was random, sometimes it was due to a “bad” search the government didn’t let me access (i.e. block the Google link that tried to redirect me to a blogspot link (which are all banned).)

With all that going on, Google probably wasn’t able to be consistent at its full capacity, and it was completely out of their control.

daemonelson's avatar

Boo-yah, Google. You’re looking less evil every day.

wundayatta's avatar

Some say that Google’s share of the Chinese market is small, so it’s not a big loss if they have to pull out. I still think there’s more to this than human rights.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

There’s holes in IE6 that have enabled cyber espionage. Taking code.

There’s also problems with Adobe PDFs that’s separate from the IE6 issues.

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