Google Threatens to Stop Following Censorship Rules. Is This A Joke?

January 13, 2010

Apparently not. This is the Big Story today, and probably for the rest of the week.

Google, the world’s leading search engine, has thrown down the gauntlet to China by announcing it is no longer willing to censor search results on its Chinese website.

In an unexpected announcement, the technology company said the decision followed a cyber attack which it believes was an attempt to gather information on Chinese human rights activists.

It also comes amid a clampdown on the internet in China over the last year, which has seen the blocking of numerous sites and social networking services hosted overseas, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Google acknowledged that the decision “may well mean” the closure of Google.cn, and potentially the company’s offices in China. (The Guardian)

Cynic and all-around horrible person that I am, I wonder if Google would be doing this if they hadn’t screwed the pooch on the China market several years ago and were still doing a fairly shitty job trying to catch up to Baidu. But that’s just me, I can always find some asshole point of view for any story.

Does Google think they have some sort of leverage that can be used here? What’s their real end game? If they get kicked out of China, will they start copying Chinese-language novels again? Should I start backing up all my Gmail files? Someone help!

This should be an unending source of fun for everyone for days to come. Stay tuned.