The Holy Roman Emperor's Conservative Commentary

Commentary on a variety of subjects.

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Born in Pittsburgh, Pa. USA, 362 years ago. Holy Roman Emperor. Rebel without a clue. AKA Denny Dimwit and Dennis the Menace.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Google Replies to Criticism


Below is the reply I got from Google to the eletter I sent to them (see previous post below) about their hypocrisy regarding self-censorship.

Of course, youíll notice that they did not answer my question:î How hypocritical can Google become?î (Iíve got to assume that the reply is boilerplate specifically written for this situation.)



Thank you for contacting us about Google.cn. We launched Google.cn for our users in the People's Republic of China who want to search and browse in Simplified Chinese. Making our site available to millions of users in their preferred language is a critical part of our mission to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful.

At first, Google.cn will serve Google Web Search, Google Image Search, Google Local, and Google News. Over time, we'll provide more Google services tailored for the China market. In launching Google.cn, we aim to balance three important values: users' interests, expanding access to information, and responding to local conditions in the markets we serve. Prior to this launch, many users in China were unable to access our site, and those who were able to access it often experienced persistent latency, delay, and time-out issues. With Google.cn, users can now access much more information, much more quickly.

As you may know, to operate a web service in China, we must remove a small percentage of content from the search results available on Google.cn. The decision to do that was not an easy one for Google, in light of our mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." After a long process of study, analysis, and debate about the many technical, business, and ethical considerations, we concluded that the best available option was to provide our Chinese users with a search service that, while filtered, will be faster, more reliable, and, overall, more comprehensive than what's available today. Given the current filtering that's performed on the entire internet in China, Google.cn will provide no less information than would otherwise be available. In fact, we believe that our advanced, innovative search technologies will make a noticeable net increase in the amount of information accessible to our Chinese users.

So, while removing this content may seem inconsistent with our mission, we believe that Google.cn will significantly improve the user experience and increase the overall accessibility of information in China. Our view is that providing as much information as possible is better than providing no information at all -- or providing such a heavily degraded user experience that it basically amounts to no information. Moreover, we think it's important to give users some meaningful disclosure whenever some results have been removed; in those cases, Google.cn clearly presents a message that says, "In response to local laws, regulations, or policies, one or more search results do not appear." It's also worth noting that Google.com will continue to be available, unfiltered, for all internet users worldwide, including those in China.

China is developing rapidly, thanks in no small measure to the internet. We firmly believe that with Google's culture of innovation, we can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive pace of development in China.

We appreciate your interest in Google and your taking the time to share your concerns with us.

Regards,
The Google Team