We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about theseattacks with a broad audience not just because of the security andhuman rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also becausethis information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate aboutfreedom of speech. In the last two decades, China's economic reformprograms and its citizens' entrepreneurial flair have lifted hundredsof millions of Chinese people out of poverty. Indeed, this great nationis at the heart of much economic progress and development in the worldtoday.We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief thatthe benefits of increased access to information for people in China anda more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censorsome results. At the time we made clearthat "we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new lawsand other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we areunable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate toreconsider our approach to China."These attacks and thesurveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over thepast year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us toconclude that we should review the feasibility of our businessoperations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing tocontinue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next fewweeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis onwhich we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, ifat all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut downGoogle.cn, and potentially our offices in China.The decision toreview our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, andwe know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. Wewant to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in theUnited States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees inChina who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success itis today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the verydifficult issues raised.
Way to go Google! How often do you see corporations operate with a moral compass?
Stark contrast to news that bank execs were set to receive record bonuses this year.
Also, it's important to note that this is great PR for Google, both in America and other freedom minded world citizens.
I do hope other search engines follow suit and force China to either change policies or risk being left behind.
yea, good job google! Stick it to the man! lol
Wait... google is becoming the man lol
Hopefully google doesn't let their power go to their head any time soon :-)
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Agreed, I'd rather not have another microsoft anytime soon.
Also, this is an important excerpt from Google's letter:
"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."
I think it pretty much sums up the conditions in China.
I wonder what kind of backlash those employees are going to see?
This move will have the opposite effect that google was probably hoping for if something bad happens to those employees. It's a risky move, but it's nice to see they are actually trying to do something for their people's rights. Little as it may be.
That's the tragic thing isn't it, that google had to claim full culpability. For their China employees, the backlash might include intimidation, but hopefully not prison time.
As far as not wanting another Microsoft/Apple in the market I think you already lost that. Google operates on a different spectrum really and is about communications (which apple has their hands in already on the I-phone, upcoming tablet device, and of course the Touch) Microsoft is M$ and they have their hands in everything with concentration being on software. Google will be the next if not the current big player on this business model as I said just on a differing spectrum of the IT market.
Either way big props to Google for making a stand on this issue as I think it is the right one for sure. I would liken it to the net neutrality thing going on in the US now. Although this country is nothing compared to China on the ruling over information, I do believe the net should be open and free for the transformation of any information of any type as long as it is not done in pure malice, and or for violent reasons.
@rapid1 Yeah, I guess you're right. But as opposed to Microsoft which is completely corporatized, Google's direction is still largely being managed by its founders.
Can you ever imagine Microsoft doing Google Books, or Google Phone free of charge?
Google seems like a much more down to earth company tho. You know microsoft is after your money with almost everything they do. At least google is trying to do good for the IT world.
Doing what most of the US economy can't... saying no to Chinese $$$
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The fact is that the US CEOs probably just got all of the Google China employees fired, since the Chinese government won't let them run the search site without the censoring in place.
Hopefully Google will be nice enough to let them keep their jobs and move them to Taiwan or back to the US.
Is it just me or do spaces in the main articles just disappear randomly? It happens on most of the articles, but not on anyones comments.
what browser are you using?
Der you hit the nail on the head, they rather leave with their head up. the fun part they have started a whole thing. because maybe yahoo and the others may do the same.
Remember leader lead the rest follow :)
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That wouldn't be such a bad thing, as long as they give credit where it's due! Google did it first.
Wouldn't be surprised if MS does it too and then goes on to announce it to the world and take all the glory lol
Well it seems that the biggest losers of Google departure will be...well Chinese.
Just finished reading a good article on NY Time about this:
"Interviews in Beijing’s downtown and university district indicated that many viewed the possible loss of Google’s maps, translation service, sketching software, access to scholarly papers and search function with real distress."
I can't imagine a world without google.com. Even though I'm sure I'd acclimate within a few weeks, but not having so many services such as maps, docs, scholar, product search, image in one place is going to eat up a lot more of my time.
"By publicly challenging China’s censorship, Google has stirred up the debate over the government’s claim that constraints on free speech are crucial to political stability and the prosperity that has accompanied it. Even if it is unlikely to pose any immediate threat to the Communist Party, Google’s move has clearly discomfited the government, Chinese analysts say."
Well being that the Chinese government is basically the last left at least of large government's which support the communist doctrine. I mean Russia is still recognized for it, but in many ways they have stepped far away from the fundamentals of it in all reality. They may still even used it for recognition, but don't really seem to support the full doctrine of it any way.
Indeed and China does have a very strong hold on its population. I'm surprised a corrupt Communist regime has functioned as well as it has. Just goes to show you the enormous labor and talent resources of China.
Censorship of its people does seem like a horrible thing to most of us . Don't forget that this IS a communist country with a very different set of social beliefs. I am not condoning this, but china is not alone on this matter either and every part of the world is different.
If they do pull out of China, I won't miss it. Every time I used Google.cn to search, the results always included something about lead.
"I didn't cry when Bambi's mother was shot... but I cried when HAL was turned off."
The Chinese still have Baidu.com which has the overwhelming share of the searches in China. Google.cn was a distant second, though it was the more popular option amongst college students and professors.
Baidu will still be the leader, and I'm sure there will be people jumping at the change to fill the space that the google apps leave, but I doubt MS would ever leave China, they make too much cash from their government I think, MS would probably start promoting stuff like it's passport & silverlight heavily to pick up users dropped by google.
While I don't believe in censorship of any kind, I can see where the world gets the view of "arrogant American" (and lesser extent westerner) from this sort of thing. If China were smart they'd be crying about Google not caring about their society and how the "americans" want to bully them into changing their national policies. That would at the very least get our congress and government to back off really quickly, if not get them support from other asian/middle eastern countries.
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