Google never fails to make the headlines. Be it the release of the Google Pack, or setting a court date with the federal government. Last week it was their decision to enter the Chinese market with an official .cn website. This decision has been criticized by everyone and their uncles. Today, I heard perhaps the worst argument for why they should not have done this.
For the uninitiated, China, with its communist ruling party, does not have the same freedom of speech that we enjoy in what can be termed western influenced democracies. They required that if Google was launching an official Chinese version of their search engine, they censor results that the government was opposed to. China is dealing with the flack of such decisions in their own way, thought various human rights watchdog organizations.
I was listening to a newly downloaded podcast today and I was treated to some horrendous commentary. “Google is an American company, hiring American workers, making American dollars. I can not understand their reasoning for doing something so preposterous.” Thankfully, I have deleted this podcast from my players and have unsubscribe to its feed. It is pretty amazing the crap that people are allowed to put out on the net. All of a sudden I’m all for censorship! 😉
To refute: Google is owned by its share holders. One of its founders is Russian by birth. It stock is traded on the NASDAQ. It makes money in all kinds of currencies and they have employees all over the world.
All that is unimportant. The point of contention here is whether Google did the right thing by acceding to the demands of the Communist rule in China. I believe that they have done the right thing. By providing the Chinese with some results in their own language, in their own way, they are providing the basis of what might becomes the a movement for more freedom of speech and expression. Google, I am told, tells the user when their search has been censored. MSN and Yahoo, companies with a longer presence in China, do not do the same.
Yes, I am a Google aficionado. It may seem to readers, that in my eyes, Google can do nothing wrong. Not true. I have criticized some of their actions in the past. In this case, I believe they are doing the right thing. Here is a link to a well written article that I closely mirrors my own feelings.
P.S. The *** in the post title is meant to censorship. Get it? Har! Har!