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This 132 message thread spans 5 pages: < < 132 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 > >     
Google Hacked and No Longer Willing to Censor Results in China
After hack of email accounts apparently by the govt.
physics




msg:4059450
 11:30 pm on Jan 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

The hack was reportedly highly sophisticated and targeted at Chinese human rights activists.

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered ... have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn ... We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

(emphasis mine)

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/ [googleblog.blogspot.com]

Wow.
My question is: Did Google not know what they were getting into when they got involved with the Chinese government in the first place?

[edited by: tedster at 1:05 am (utc) on Jan. 13, 2010]
[edit reason] switch to permalink [/edit]

 

frontpage




msg:4060087
 6:36 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Besides, there is no better candy for U.S. media and politicians than the threat of an all-out cyber-Armageddon initiated by Chinese hackers. I can assure everyone that at least a half of all discussions that Google's move would spur would be about the need to make America more secure from cyberattacks. No better timing to throw more terrorism-related meat to the U.S. public ("what if they read Obama's email?").

Whomever wrote that is ignorant about the fact that Bush and Obama don't use email (don't want communications subpoenaed). The Presidential Records Act of 1978, which requires that documents retained by the White House must be released to the public.

Hugene




msg:4060098
 6:44 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Big respect to Google for this. Regardless of what we (web experts) say and political pundits say, this is a very very risky move for Google (and I personally believe it will end bad for them)

The reality is that G has established a decent position on the main-land, obviously behind Baidu, but still G went from nothing to near 1/3 of the market.

In my 9-5 industry, all players bend over way backwards just to enter the Chinese market, while the local Chinese company gets all the financial, contractual and political help they can.

At the end of the day, the biggest losers will be the Chinese population and mostly it's growing economy. Baidu is a horrible example of a state-pushed and protected company: censorship, pirated content and manipulation of the SERPS for money (ads). Baidu will never grow out of China, and G and Y and M$ will takeover everything around.

Anyways, way to go Google. Off to publish this on my site.

physics




msg:4060111
 6:52 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

encyclo, that Baidu lockout thing is just evil!

encyclo




msg:4060116
 6:58 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

> Baidu lockout

Try the same search on [cn.yahoo.com...] as well - then on google.cn...

incrediBILL




msg:4060123
 7:08 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Stay in (with censorship), then they have lost any and all credibility.

US search results are also censored, of what credibility do you speak?

encyclo




msg:4060126
 7:11 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

US search results are also censored

... to hide images of state violence against its population? To hide persecution of religious groups and political opponents to the regime? Censored with no oversight, no due process, no appeal?

incrediBILL




msg:4060140
 7:36 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

The head honchos at Google appear to like censorship if it's profitable:

Shareholder initiatives

On May 10, 2007, shareholders of Google voted down an anti-censorship proposal for the company. The text of the failed proposal stated that:

... see Wiki for all the blah blah [en.wikipedia.org] ...

David Drummond, senior vice president for corporate development, said "Pulling out of China, shutting down Google.cn, is just not the right thing to do at this point... but that's exactly what this proposal would do."[41]

CEO Eric Schmidt and founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal. Together they hold 66.2 percent of Google's total shareholder voting power, meaning Brin and Schmidt declined the anti-censorship proposal.[42]

Maybe they just aren't making money in China so they pulled this smoke screen out as an excuse?

Makes you go Hmmmm....

outland88




msg:4060168
 8:18 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would vote B. The Chinese have probably already riddled the Adwords and Adsense systems to the point there is no profitability for Google. Plus they’ve likely already hacked G Mail to death also. The Chinese government certainly isn’t going to help any American company if things go wrong in that country. Expect a huge tax write-off by Google in the future.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4060183
 8:41 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

there's no point using 20-20 hindsight to criticize earlier decisions.

Hindsight? They received plenty of criticism at the time and chose to use crappy excuses to justify their actions. This is further proof that Google is just another multi-national with no (well very few) scruples!

IanKelley




msg:4060254
 10:37 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

And letting the $200M pass is fine

If we ignore numbers released by Chinese gov controlled organizations, which undoubtedly have never released an accurate figure where foreign companies are concerned, then Google has 25-35% of the Chinese search market.

That's absolutely huge. China has over 300 million internet users. All of North America put together has less than that.

In North America those users represent somewhere around 75% of the population, whereas in China they represent 25% or less.

We're talking about one of the largest and fastest growing (if not the fastest growing) internet markets in the world.

I don't care if you're losing money, you don't give up a one third share of ANY industry in China lightly.

geekie




msg:4060276
 11:46 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

This whole thing is really fishy... there is a lot more to this story.

encyclo




msg:4060323
 12:53 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google acted on censorship amid China dissident fears [guardian.co.uk]

Google moved quickly to announce that it would stop censoring its Chinese ­service after realising dissidents were at risk from Beijing's attempts to use the company's technology for political ­surveillance, according to a source with direct ­knowledge of the internet giant's most senior management.

As the US intervened in Google's challenge to Beijing, the source told the Guardian the company's decision was largely influenced by the experiences of Sergey Brin's Russian refugee background. The Google co-founder "felt this very personally", the source said. "The notion that somebody would try to turn Google's tools into tools of political surveillance was something he found deeply offensive."

When it became clear that the cyber attacks were about political surveillance, people at the very top of the company "decided they no longer wanted to participate in this kind of behaviour," said the source.

bill




msg:4060332
 1:05 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here's an interesting quote from a TechCrunch article [techcrunch.com] on the topic:
When I met with Google's former head of China Kai-fu Lee in Beijing last October, he noted that one reason he left Google was that it was clear the company was never going to substantially increase its market share or beat Baidu. Google has clearly decided doing business in China isn't worth it, and are turning what would be a negative into a marketing positive for its business in the rest of the world.

Google spent a lot of time and money to recruit Kai-fu Lee from Microsoft in China. He had to wait months for non-compete agreements to finish out. He was obviously highly valued by these companies for his abilities and insights in the China market. This was big news for a long time in the China SE field.

When the former President of Google China comes out with statements like this it makes the whole market pull-out option a whole lot more plausible.

walkman




msg:4060354
 1:43 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

And that's the main issue, future revenue. Unless China has a revolution Google will be frozen out of there.
We're talking about one of the largest and fastest growing (if not the fastest growing) internet markets in the world.

When I met with Google's former head of China Kai-fu Lee in Beijing last October, he noted that one reason he left Google was that it was clear the company was never going to substantially increase its market share or beat Baidu. Google has clearly decided doing business in China isn't worth it, and are turning what would be a negative into a marketing positive for its business in the rest of the world.

Is he a computer scientist or Nostradamus, so sure to use to terms like 'never'? Even 10%-20% is worth a lot of money in a huge market.

yaix2




msg:4060400
 3:51 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

The Baidu lockout is against the blogspot.com domain, which is blocked in China, not specifically against googleblog. The Connection Reset error is what you get here in China when you search for censored stuff.

I believe part of the reason that Google gives up is the favoritism for Baidu and against Google, e.g. on Google Image Search there are often connection problems and only part of the preview images are shown. Gmail repeatedly has problems with slow connections, while at the same time everything else loads normal. So over all, Google in China is always a bit slower and a bit more unreliable then Baidu.

john5000




msg:4060425
 4:45 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

This part was edited out of the quote in the OP

...and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all.

[googleblog.blogspot.com...]

Maybe it will work out and goog will get to provide uncensored search in China.

[edited by: john5000 at 5:06 am (utc) on Jan. 14, 2010]

J_RaD




msg:4060431
 5:01 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)


That's absolutely huge. China has over 300 million internet users. All of North America put together has less than that.

you can't really compare a chinese internet user to a NA internet user.

tntpower




msg:4060432
 5:21 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

So Google China does not need to pay for its copyright infringement fine for illegally scanning books by Chinese authors?

lol

tntpower




msg:4060434
 5:25 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would say it is just a marketing campaign. Google is pretty good in marketing, remember Gmail's referral-required-start?

Google has lost Chinese market. Recent reports show that, Baidu dominates Chinese market (60-75%) and Google just gets one slice (15-30%).

Atharva




msg:4060445
 6:04 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Incredbill wrote:
Hacking accounts is so 3rd world and low tech, they just install software to continuously monitor data streams at all the major internet junctions which is undetectable by Google or anyone else ;)

Maybe the traffic is encrypted ?

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4060467
 7:35 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google moved quickly to announce that it would stop censoring its Chinese ­service after realising dissidents were at risk from Beijing's attempts to use the company's technology for political ­surveillance

Google must be very backward and naive eh? ;)

IanKelley




msg:4060491
 8:35 am on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

you can't really compare a chinese internet user to a NA internet user.

When there are 650 million Chinese internet users will it be comparable then? Even then internet penetration would still be 25% below ours.

makemetop




msg:4060602
 1:28 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Marbridge Daily [marbridgeconsulting.com] are reporting that "According to industry sources, Google is reportedly in discussions with Chinese government authorities to withdraw from China within the next two months, with the exception for services related to its Android mobile OS. Approximately 100 Android engineers will remain, and additional engineers may be transferred as the project requires....".

I'm not sure that would be so good for their "moral high-ground" message if true.

vincevincevince




msg:4060622
 2:20 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I do not quite understand why Google needs to discuss its withdrawal with the Chinese government authorities. Surely there are well defined procedures in place for closing a business?

shk3




msg:4060683
 3:39 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am new here, and a high school student in Beijing, P.R.China.
In fact, the censoring search results has not been stopped in g.cn.
There were some students near the office of Google in Beijing delivering some flowers to that, but the guards of building in which Google China works said those were illegal action and stopped them.
There are many Gfans in China especially in Chinese universities, and it makes some effects.
By the way, I am a English white hand, and please not hesitate to tell me when I make some mistakes in language.

jcmoon




msg:4060738
 4:27 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here's an angle I haven't seen anyone bring up. What hardware does Google have in China? Do they have datacenters (container or otherwise)?

When Google.cn does get shut down, expect the Chinese government to confiscate Google's machinery ... and then, give Baidu an "anonymous" gift.

Google's smart enough to know this, though, and I'm sure they have some genius ways of deleting / destroying their intellectual property in such a scenario.

So you should expect that in response, Beijing will use Google.cn employees as a bargaining chip (if Google doesn't hit the self-destruct button, then its former employees won't end up in the gulag). Faced with that kind of decision, I think I know how the boys from Mountain View would react.

(just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you ... just sayin')

shk3




msg:4060774
 5:04 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

They may not have datacenters in Beijing. The staffs in Beijing can not work if the connection to MTV is stopped. It is believed that the connection is stopped by MTV.
Google China is legal in China now, and google.cn or anything of Google should be protected by Chinese government because of Chinese laws.

encyclo




msg:4060796
 5:41 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld shk3, and thanks for giving us news from a Beijing perspective :)

coolfx35




msg:4060937
 8:30 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, my website doesn't come up on google results, because it's against so called "Google" policy. Okay, I respect that even though i don't agree with it.

But Google on the other hand, wants to change "China's" policy because they don't agree with it? Give me a break.

China's censorships help them stablized the nation, it has more than 1 billion people, it cannot change overnight, but it's changing as time moves forward.

I personally lived in China for 14 years, and even thought we don't have the freedom of speech like I do in the US. We live a pretty happy life. If you don't mess with the gov't, they won't mess with you.

Highest Gov't officials do want the best for their citizens, but they definitely need to do more on the heavy curruption.

I said google should leave them alone, china has changed so much in recent years, and it's heading to be one of the largest economies in the world. Citizens lives are improving greatly. My grandparents in China now own 3 TVs and one of them is LCD TV. In my personal opinion, on average, people in China are happier than People in the USA.

hutcheson




msg:4060993
 9:29 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

>I said google should leave them alone

Google seems to be about to agree with you.

I agree that there seems to be no right thing for Google to do at this point.

And that, from my perspective, is the most condemning thing that can be said ... about the government of China, the organization that went to a great deal of trouble to create that environment in which there could be no right thing to do.

IBM Germany was taken over by the Nazis in World War II. Ford Motor Company engineers were effectively interned by the Communists in the USSR. When it seems evident that China is on a collision course with the world, getting out seems like a good thing to do.

lusary




msg:4061179
 4:36 am on Jan 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think google.cn will not leave China.If google.cn really need leave,google will throw much more.

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