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Behind Google's Recent Decision About China

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the wish-i-had-that-clout dept.

Censorship 155

yuhong writes "This article by The Independent takes a look at what is behind the recent decisions made by Google regarding China, particularly regarding Sergey Brin, born in the USSR, [and whose origins] played a big part in this decision. From the article: 'He's always had an emotional tug within him, saying "we shouldn't be making compromises," says Ken Auletta, the author of Googled: The End of the World As We Know It.'"

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155 comments

String em up! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932472)

String up the niggers and spics!

I agree. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932780)

I got news for these niggers. They can screw 100 degenerate White sluts a
day and that doesn't change the fact that they're still just niggers. Its
like the niggers who go out and buy Cadillacs or BMWs imagining people will
think they're "high class" or rich. LOL! When people see a nigger riding
around in an expensive car, they automatically know its nobody of any value
or class, just a dumb nigger trying to act rich.

Re:I agree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932868)

Or they think it's a car thief.

Hate google or not (3, Interesting)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932498)

Standing up to China takes stones. Having said that, I am more and more afraid that they'll own all of us in my lifetime anyway.

Well yes... but: (3, Insightful)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932572)

If only they would have stood up for free speech at the beginning, and not only after they found themselves with a disappointing 29% market share [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Well yes... but: (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932618)

If only they would have stood up for free speech at the beginning, and not only after they found themselves with a disappointing 29% market share [wikipedia.org] .

Er, Baidu [wikipedia.org] had 1) been operating for seven years already when Google.cn was founded in China and 2) had the benefits of being a Chinese company that no doubt had leaders more in tune with Chinese culture.

Pick a country foreign to you. Now give your competitors a seven year head start. Now try to enter the market. Now tell me that 29% is "disappointing." Has anyone come even close to that against Google in the US?

I'd say 29% is pretty astonishing. What were you expecting?

Re:Well yes... but: (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932680)

That's not the point. Fighting an uphill battle and then at some point claiming to pull out due to freedom of speech issues isn't quite as believable as a world leader in search not entering a market due to freedom of speech issues.

Re:Well yes... but: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932844)

They have roughly 90 million users in China. That's a lot of eyeballs. Even if somebody else is doing better than they are, I don't quite see that as fighting an uphill battle.

Re:Well yes... but: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933378)

Actually, this might be a more effective marketing strategy. If they actually turn off the censors before the Chinese government block them, they could quickly jump up in user share. Beyond that, they got their foot in the door to let the swarm of free information in. Is Google a Trojan horse?

Re:Well yes... but: (3, Insightful)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934160)

AC:

That's not the point. Fighting an uphill battle and then at some point claiming to pull out due to freedom of speech issues isn't quite as believable as a world leader in search not entering a market due to freedom of speech issues.

From the article:

Could Beijing really countenance a filter-free search engine? Probably not. But it also knows that driving Google from China would be a public relations catastrophe.

I think Google entering the market and then leaving has a more profound effect since that 36% of the population will actually have a tangible experience to relate to. What may happen is that Google may be able to leverage this so that censorship is less restrictive on google.cn. and in order to compete Baidu would have to do the same.

From the article:

It was Schmidt who put the business case for Google to expand into China: with 384 million internet users, it is the world's biggest digital market – of which Google has grasped about 36 per cent since 2006. But Brin and Page spent a year weighing the pros and cons of the decision on what they called their "evil scale" before approving the launch of Google.cn.

It's a pragmatic approach to "do no evil" rather than an idealistic one and in my opinion a better one since the idealistic approach would have made less progress or any progress at all.

Re:Well yes... but: (5, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934248)

That's not the point. Fighting an uphill battle and then at some point claiming to pull out due to freedom of speech issues isn't quite as believable as a world leader in search not entering a market due to freedom of speech issues.

It is exactly the opposite: claiming not to enter a market (where they would face an uphill battle to get even the tiniest marketshare) due to freedom of speech issues is much less believable than pulling out after achieving a very respectable 29%, after all the money and time invested to get to those 29%.

And you were modded "insightful"? Mods must be smoking something powerful.

Re:Well yes... but: (3, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933120)

Re: Baidu, It has less to do with "leaders in tune" and more to do with nationalism really.

That google was able to establish the share they did in the face of being foreigners is astonishing indeed.

Re:Well yes... but: (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932910)

If only they would have stood up for free speech at the beginning, and not only after they found themselves with a disappointing 29% market share.

Microsoft would kill for a 29% market share of the search business in the USA.

Re:Well yes... but: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933126)

Or 29% of the market share in China, for that matter.

Re:Well yes... but: (1)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933384)

China advertising != US advertising. In fact, 100% market share in China would still earn less than 29% market share in the US. Sure, 90 (and growing) million is a big audience, but not as lucrative once one realizes how little the average Chinese person is financially worth.

Only ~2-3% of Google's total revenues came from China.

It's not surprising that GOOG's stock didn't take much of a hit after they announced that they're pulling out of China.

Re:Well yes... but: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933806)

And how much is the average American person financially worth?

Re:Well yes... but: (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934366)

US GDP per capita: $46,716
China GDP per capita: $3,264

Net worth has very little to do with advertising.

Re:Well yes... but: (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934596)

8-15x more, depending on if you want to adjust for purchasing power because one would assume that the costs of operating in China would be lower not that it would have that much of an effect on the overall bottom line of the company. A simplification of course as 75% of China has no internet access, but the 25% that do could be assumed to be among the richest.

Oh you weren't looking for an answer?

Re:Hate google or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932598)

I am more and more afraid that they'll own all of us in my lifetime anyway.

With us you mean USA, right? Which is right now owned by Saudi's?

Soon enough, China will be able to buy USA in a bargainbin together with a discarted toy soldier.

Re:Hate google or not (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932628)

discarted toy soldier.

How dare someone steal that toy soldier's cart!

Re:Hate google or not (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932648)

I didn't mean all of Slashdot... I self identify as a citizen of the United States so yes us refers to the USA. Having said that, I don't think we (the US) are the only Country on earth that is beholden to China. Time will tell how good or bad that is, but big change often hurts the little guy the most in the long run.

Re:Hate google or not (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932666)

Wasn't US owned by the Jews?

Re:Hate google or not (3, Informative)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933194)

Um no,
China owns 23.35% of the foreign dept of the US (JA is next w/ 21.13%), foreign dept is 27.90% of the total public dept.
Giving China a grand total of 6.51% of the total dept of the US

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt

Re:Hate google or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933292)

[pedantic] SET dept = debt. [/pedantic]

Re:Hate google or not (4, Funny)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933332)

Oh wow, I don't know what's worse me using dept instead of debt or you not using a regexp to correct it. ;)

Re:Hate google or not (1)

Island Admin (1562905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934264)

regexp ?!?!?!..... try running that one through PERL :P
Should be more like:
while (my $line = <$dodgypost>) {
$line =~ s/dept/debt/i;
print $fixedpost $line;
}

Never compromise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932646)

Not even in the face of Armageddon.
-- Rorschach

Re:Hate google or not (4, Interesting)

yog (19073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932678)

Hm, I'm not sure why anyone would "hate" Google. I like using all their free stuff, and my Nexus One is the cat's pajamas. I agree with you that it takes some big cajones to stand up to the PRC government, which is getting richer and scarier. But we have to remember a few historical facts. China is currently the low cost acceptable quality manufacturer in the world. This will not hold forever. Remember when it was Taiwan and Korea, and before that Japan? China will eventually face a situation where its cheap labor is a liability rather than an asset. They can't perpetuate this divide between the haves and have-nots forever. The cities will get richer, more expensive to live in, and knowledge worker wages will rise. Infrastructure needs will scream for more taxation, and cost of living will increase. Everyone will want a car, then two cars, then a house with a garage, etc. There's a price for moving to a consumption economy. China's paranoid regime will spend more on expensive new military gear and, gradually, it will increasingly resemble a Western economy. They can "near-source" their manufacturing to the hinterland, e.g. Sichuan, Guangdong, Guangxi, etc. for a while longer but not forever. Eventually, some other manufacturing region will become prominent--maybe parts of India, South America, or Africa, where wages are still very low and people are glad for any kind of work. Or, robotics and nanotech will finally kick in and remove the low wage advantage from the equation, and the U.S. may reemerge as a major manufacturer. A factory on every corner, with made-to-order consumer goods while you wait, for example. As for the Google situation, it's not over yet. I suspect there will be some kind of win-win understanding between the two parties where Google will be relieved of censorship duties, but the PRC government will find some other way to effectively censor search results without either side admitting any concession.

Re:Hate google or not (4, Insightful)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932854)

Thank you, that's an excellent response to all the China v. America doom-saying that's going on these days. Twenty years ago - and I am old enough to remember it first hand - it was Japan that was going to bury us. There are very good reasons that China's prospects look bleak rather than promising.

Re:Hate google or not (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933052)

Notice that ever since the 80s, you've been living large on credit. You have to look much further back to find a situation when the USA actually recovered from something like that, and the last time it was when the rest of the world had just been destroyed in a war.

Japan, korea, china, etc. and why you don't get it (2, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934714)

Since when didn't Japan take huge chunks of the US economy? When I first started to drive, it was really rare to see a japanese car, as in..nevah. Now? Who needed emergency bailouts again, to keep from going completely bankrupt? How about electronics? I remember when all the TVs,radios, HiFis, etc were predominantly US made, that's what you saw in the stores and in people's homes, with germany actually being second tier, then, Japanese electronics hit. Whammmo they hit. Now, how many US made TVs are there and so forth? Like zero? How about heavy equipment? We are the largest farm in this area, and just for tractors.lemme see here..we have one US made, john deere (and their smaller ones they sell are just rebadged yanmars AFAIK) *six* japanese (kubotas), three german or austrian (deutz and vetter) (that's just tractors, of course we have all sorts of other equipment, mixed as well) (and Indian mahindras are starting to sell pretty good around here now). How about motorcycles? Way back you saw some US and english bikes mostly, (harleys and triumphs mostly, with the odd bmw thrown in) Now? Rough guess, what I see is 7/8ths japanese bikes on the road, with china taking the dinky scooter market so far, but they will be expanding that. And so on

Ya, it changes around, the main point from a US perspective to keep focused on isn't so much where stuff is sourced *from*, it is where it *ain't sourced from*, which is more and more daily the USA being the "ain't". We continue to lose manufacturing all across the industrial spectrum, which is value-added wealth creation that increases the internal economy to a large degree. And hand in hand with losing manufacturing over the last four decades now, the US government and economic overlords (same dudes in the revolving door wall street/DC government axis) have had to result to accounting tricks and issuing ever more stupid compounded IOU paper to give the appearance of prosperity.

The number one US manufactured *thing* today is debt. Followed by advanced military weapons.....contemplate some outcomes there for awhile..

You can only do that "debt manufacturing" for so long before good money stops being thrown at bad money. Eventually, the planet is going to call the US on its debt and just stop doing that. Interesting times then...

This reserve currency deal, that came about from the Marshall Plan and the petrodollar phenomenon, has made accumulating all this debt possible, but it sure isn't going to last forever. You can't do this accumulate more debt than what you make on a smaller personal scale forever, as everyone knows, you'll go bankrupt and get bounced out on the street and your ride go away to the repo man, nor can you do it on a medium scale, nor even a huge large scale.

  The timeline varies on your bankruptcy and crash and repo man showing up, but not that outcome.

Re:Hate google or not (2, Insightful)

JohnFen (1641097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933256)

I like using all their free stuff, and my Nexus One is the cat's pajamas.

Nothing Google provides is for free. You pay for everything by exchanging access to your personal information for it.

Re:Hate google or not (1)

bonefry (979930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933852)

Yes, but it doesn't cut into my monthly paycheck ... too many of such monthly expenses would mean I won't be able to pay my bills and support my family ... and these, IMHO, are the real problems.

If Google's search engine and Gmail ... came with a paid subscription, then I wouldn't use them ... that's one reason I switched from Yahoo's Mail to Gmail ... since the free version of YMail had serious restrictions, like a really small storage, and no POP3 access.

Sorry, but I consider this to be a good deal ... Google can mine my data all day long, I don't care.

Re:Hate google or not (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933516)

While China's overall GDP growth numbers have looked good, especially relative to other top economies, there are some underlying structural issues hidden by these numbers. In one case, I don't think they take into account the environmental sacrifices that have been made to pull their economy forward and this will be due at some point (recent green efforts, notwithstanding).

A recent BBC broadcast (link below), highlighted some of the issues related to China's growth. The guest was Jim Chanos, an investor known for his perceptiveness in shorting industries. He noted that much of their growth was asset based (plant building, etc) and as a percentage of GDP rather large. This had been going on for some time (essentially funded by State capital) and the depreciation of said assets is not taken into account when calculating their GDP. GDP in China is a goal, not one of many descriptions normally used for observing overall growth. This can affect planning, especially for an economy with so much central planning, as they target growth just to make GDP grow. Thus you get an imbalance in short term gain versus long term development.

China Crisis (BBC podcast)
http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/bizdaily/bizdaily_20100127-1026a.mp3

Re:Hate google or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933970)

"my Nexus One is the cat's pajamas."

a/s/l? what are you wearing?

Re:Hate google or not (1)

RMS Eats Toejam (1693864) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932684)

Standing up to China takes stones.

I beg your pardon? You think what Google is doing is called "standing up to China"? That's a slap in the face to the few Chinese citizens who have stood up to China and been met with torture, imprisonment, and worse.

Re:Hate google or not (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932732)

While I agree with you on a human level, from a business standpoint what Google did was a bold move. Companies as large as Google don't often voluntarily ignore a customer base as large as China over morals. ::shrug:: not saying I agree with it, not saying it's right...just saying the way it normally is.

Re:Hate google or not (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933212)

Companies as large as Google don't often voluntarily ignore a customer base as large as China over morals.

Who says Google is doing this over morals? They're doing it because they got attacked by a bunch of government-backed hackers.

Re:Hate google or not (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933356)

which they find morally offensive ;-)

Re:Hate google or not (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933482)

Possibly, but it's a far cry from this notion that they are doing it over some protest over Chinese censorship. They've been whores to the Chinese government for years.

Re:Hate google or not (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933616)

It's possible that they were putting up with it before because of the revenue they were generating, but the hack was enough to cause them to say screw it. ::shrug:: who knows

Re:Hate google or not (2, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933804)

Google is controlled by two people: Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They together own about 59% of the voting rights for the company. (Over the next few years, they plan to reduce that to about 49%, but that will be de facto control as well.)

This means that they can generally do what they want. They are not mindlessly piloted by the anonymous avarice of its shareholders.

Re:Hate google or not (3, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933016)

On the other hand, Microsoft is quite happy collaborating with the Chinese government in clamping on freedom of expression.

If only for that reason, you'll never catch me using bing.

There are the moral reasons and also the fact that information about you can end up in the hands of Chinese officials. Of course the later is more important for the Chinese population living abroad and for companies competing against Chinese products (most of the big ones if not all)

Re:Hate google or not (4, Interesting)

OwMyBrain (1476929) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933174)

Standing up to China takes stones.

Having said that, I am more and more afraid that they'll own all of us in my lifetime anyway.

Google or China?

Re:Hate google or not (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933978)

Google is a publicly traded company so why not both? All kidding aside China is way scarier.

Like Father Like Son (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932500)

This article by The Independent takes a look at what is behind the recent decisions made by Google regarding China, particularly regarding Sergey Brin was born in the USSR which played a big part in this decision.

Interesting, Sergey's father faced the problem of having to compromise by abandoning his faith and culture in order to get the job he wanted (astronomer) or stay Jewish and be reduced/stunted in a select set of careers. Now Sergey has a similar decision where he can choose either his principles or a chance at one sixth of the world's population as a market. Should be an interesting choice.

I hope he realizes that once he cashes in [slashdot.org] the choice will no longer be his and will be a painfully obvious one for the investors. Capitalistic greed, while much less worse than flaws of implemented Socialism, has its evils too, Sergey.

Re:Like Father Like Son (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932816)

I wouldn't be suprised if that's why they cashed in- so that they can do a u-turn without losing face themselves, they can simply say the investors decided for them and it was out of their hand. Still, I could be wrong, we may be pleasantly suprised.

That said, he definitely seems to be the good guy at Google- he certainly seems worlds apart from Schmidt who actually seems to believe in the surveillance state.

Re:Like Father Like Son (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932956)

Well, even after "cashing out", they'll still control 48% of the voting rights, so it would have to be a unanimous vote against them, with nobody abstaining. That's unlikely.

Re:Like Father Like Son (3, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933248)

They didn't cash in - from what I understand, they filed a notice with the SEC (per one of the Insider Trading Sanctions Acts), just in case if they want to cash in a larger part of their securities.

That said, yes, Brin seems a nice guy through and through [blogoscoped.com]

Re:Like Father Like Son (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933028)

Interesting, Sergey's father faced the problem of having to compromise by abandoning his faith and culture in order to get the job he wanted (astronomer) or stay Jewish and be reduced/stunted in a select set of careers.

Actually, no. In the USSR, if you were Jewish, this was written in your passport and in no way a choice. Almost certainly Sergey's father was a secular Jew.

I have the same background as Sergey (Jewish parents left USSR when I was little) and I can see precisely where he is coming from. It's scary to read all of the comments from people who have never lived under an actual oppressive government about how the US is just as bad as China, echoing the Chinese government that we shouldn't censure China for murdering dissidents and blocking large parts of the internet because we've conducted warrantless wiretapping.

These Remarks Are Signs of a Healthy System (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933250)

It's scary to read all of the comments from people who have never lived under an actual oppressive government about how the US is just as bad as China ...

It's not scary, it's the sign of a healthy system. If you have a population of over a million and no one is complaining about the leadership than something is terribly terribly wrong.

I will always have comments to criticize my government with and I will decide how loudly I voice them. You are correct in asserting that China is worse on censorship than the US but that won't stop people from drawing analogies to prevent the equivocation from being complete. The fact that a North Korean or Iranian or Chinese citizen cannot get up and loudly voice criticisms (no matter how true/untrue) of their respective governments is what should scare you.

I assure you that we know it's not as bad here but some of us feel that any mild form of censorship is horrible. And so you'll hear it from time to time and that's just a sign that the system that allows dissent is working. If I didn't have that to bitch about, trust me, I'd find something else. It was literally designed that way by our founding fathers and is the American Way*.

*Note: I'm not saying it was started by or is exclusive to Americans, just that it's how we expect it to be.

That's silly. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933432)

Over a million and no complaints means something is wrong? How arbitrary and self serving.

Re:That's silly. (2, Insightful)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933524)

If you have any size population, it is inevitable that someone doesn't like how things are being run since it's impossible to please everyone. If nobody is complaining there certainly is something wrong. They're probably just staying quiet for fear of punishment.

Re:These Remarks Are Signs of a Healthy System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933458)

(I'm the same AC as above)

You misunderstood me. It's certainly not government criticism that is scary--it's unequivocally a good thing. I have no illusions about the US gov't (I wish bribery in the form of campaign contributions were illegal, for instance). The problem is that equating with China shows a lack of perspective, doesn't prevent the slippery slope that such comparisons are presumably intended to, and gives China a much freer pass (it's a bit like Godwin's law). Chinese propaganda is also quite adept at using this.

I assure you that we know it's not as bad here but some of us feel that any mild form of censorship is horrible.

You can only speak for yourself--and I have talked to people who aren't as keenly aware of the difference as you.

Re:These Remarks Are Signs of a Healthy System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933540)

gives China a much freer pass (it's a bit like Godwin's law)

No, no it's not at all like that. It's like saying, "Oh my God, look at how horrible China is and we need to stop this in the United States because it could lead to this." If anyone is saying "China should be allowed to do X because the United States does X to a lesser extent" then yes, they are idiots and should be moderated down.

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932532)

So Brin wanted to pull out of Russia and his colleague(s) wanted to be evil?

Looks like Brin lost. No wonder he is selling out(stock).

copyright law anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932660)

Google has no chance competing against Baidu.
If I want to watch the latest episode of "Family Guy", I simply go to Baidu type it in and within a minute I am watching.
With Google... What is this garbage? I don't want to read about family guy I want to watch it.

Until the Intellectual Property issues are resolved, Google has no chance in China.

google can do it (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932662)

if google wants to start a campaign to promote democracy and human rights in china on all websites in the world, forcing the people's republic to censor the whole world, effectively re-isolating themselves, they can do it. if they want to take another strategy, and make all of google inacessible from all of china, imposing some isolation on them, they also can. they can pressure other organizations to do the same. but continuing to play footsie with capitalism and fascism and maoism and government monopolies and expect good results is going to continue getting nothing. at worst, google would lose china, at least while that government continues, but gain a lot of respect in the rest of the world.

the Lesser of evils (2, Interesting)

Andypcguy (1052300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932670)

I've set all 250 computers in my Dept. default search engine to Google. I think Evil is just a part of human nature and it takes real effort to not be evil. I applaud Google for standing up to China and forsaking monetary gains for purity of ideals.

Re:the Lesser of evils (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932706)

Agreed. Yes, they should have stood up against them in the very beginning, but better late than never. It will be interesting to see how this affects things long term...

I think it would be foolish to say Google isn't "evil" at all, but they certainly seem less so than many other companies their size. They have the potential to wield a HUGE amount of power, given the amount of data they have on such a large percentage of the population...but so far they seem to have kept themselves in check fairly well.

Re:the Lesser of evils (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934564)

I like how you praised their rejection of an authoritarian regime by instituting an authoritarian action.

not surprised at Brin (5, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932690)

I am a stern opponent to anything communist/socialist in nature, being born and raised until the age of 16 back in the non-existent USSR. I am also against this buddy-buddy system, that apparently all of these so called capitalist societies have. There is no principled system anywhere, in the 'communist' countries, it's basically a dictatorship and no free enterprise is allowed to compete with it, because there is no competition, the planned economy is doomed. In the so called 'capitalist' countries now it is all about buying power in the government to push forward agenda of getting free money printed by the government.

Hong Kong seems to be the place where the society came as close as possible to the real free market system, money is created by private entities, there are competing currencies, government can't dilute the value and give preferential treatment to certain corporations, banks, etc. You don't like what one monetary system is doing, move your business to another. I am sure it has its problems, which I am not aware of, since I never lived there, but it seems to be the best out of everything I have seen or hear of so far.

I am not surprised that Brin is the guy who takes the principled stand and I would not be surprised to find out that he came up with the 'no evil' slogan. It's obviously going to be a losing battle, if we know anything about people, they'll fuck up anything until it's dead, look at HP, they used to be the 'no evil' company of engineers. I just remembered the horror stories connected to a professional firm jumping shark-ceo type, Fiorina was her name?

That's the problem, we can't live forever, so our principles die with us and there is nothing much we can do past that to promote our ideals. We try, but looks like we fail in all cases, that's too bad.

Good luck to Brin in this battle, I don't know that even his crazy fortune can fight off this one for too long and I don't know how interested he will be in that once enough pressure is applied from enough people interested in profit motive only.

Re:not surprised at Brin (0, Troll)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933184)

I am a stern opponent to anything communist/socialist in nature,

So you eschew all police and fire services and use no public utilities correct? Wouldn't want you to be a hypocrite and use those "ebil" socialist services.

Re:not surprised at Brin (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933264)

So you eschew all police and fire services and use no public utilities correct?

- as in do I avoid it? Is it possible to avoid it in society that forces it upon you? Why didn't you ask if I eschew buying political power to gain monetary advantage?

Yes, I am against all forms of socialism/communism that is forced upon me, it's not possible to avoid things that exist, especially if it's government mandated.

Re:not surprised at Brin (0, Flamebait)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933300)

- as in do I avoid it? Is it possible to avoid it in society that forces it upon you?

Of course it is. How does society force you to use police and fire services or public utilities? It's your choice to use any of them.

Yes, I am against all forms of socialism/communism that is forced upon me, it's not possible to avoid things that exist, especially if it's government mandated.

Nice cop out. Not surprising, though, that you're a hypocrite.

Re:not surprised at Brin (2, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933430)

Cop out ? Are you asking me if I am using the fire department service or not? I am answering to you: I am forced to only use the services, since they are already paid by the taxes. What part of 'I am already paying for it' can't you comprehend?

If I had a choice to use competing fire-departments / police departments would I be upset about the extra choices? No. I would gladly pick ones that I am more comfortable with.

Is this comprehensive enough for you?

Re:not surprised at Brin (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933466)

You aren't forced to use any of them. Who is sitting there pointing a gun to your head and forcing you to call the 9/11 for the police or fire department to come help you?

Re:not surprised at Brin (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933496)

Are you being purposely obtuse, do I have to use a visual aid? Taxes, it's built into the tax code. Property taxes in case of Toronto. Can I avoid paying them without being thrown into the meat grinder that the system has created for such cases as myself?

Re:not surprised at Brin (0, Flamebait)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933290)

Hey leftie, did you bother to read the rest of his post or did you jump out of your chair with Keith Olbermann style rage before you even finished that one sentance you quoted?

Re:not surprised at Brin (0, Flamebait)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933408)

Hey leftie

How am I a leftie? Because I point out some turd's hypocritical statements? I didn't realize that being a right-leaning libertarian made me a leftie. I'll make sure to make a note about that.

did you bother to read the rest of his post or did you jump out of your chair with Keith Olbermann style rage before you even finished that one sentance you quoted?

I read the rest of it. His whole thing about Hong Kong ignores the fact that most people in the country were basically exploited wage slaves.

Re:not surprised at Brin (2, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933576)

How am I a leftie? Because I point out some turd's hypocritical statements? I didn't realize that being a right-leaning libertarian made me a leftie. I'll make sure to make a note about that.

- not a 'leftie', no, I wouldn't insult the normal people on 'the left' this way.

I read the rest of it. His whole thing about Hong Kong ignores the fact that most people in the country were basically exploited wage slaves.

- Hong Kong now has the closest system to free market economy in the world. Wage slaves live in the rest of the world, in the US it's credit slaves now, forget wages. Also it's Hong Kong, not mainland China. This is were people are doing business.

Re:not surprised at Brin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933334)

way to completely miss the point, jackass. But I guess it is more important to keep spreading the meme of "if you use public utilities you can't make an argument against socialism" since you and your slashdot buddies will need it the next time the word "capitalism" comes up in a thread.

Re:not surprised at Brin (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933396)

No, actually it's just amusing to poke idiots who claim to be "a stern opponent to anything communist/socialist in nature" and yet use all sorts of services that are socialist in nature and then make up cop-out answers after the fact.

Re:not surprised at Brin (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933468)

Given a choice of being forced to pay taxes and to use the only available service, or to pay user fees to some privately held fire-department/police service that would have to compete on the free market, which one would I chose you ask? Really, you are asking me this?

Re:not surprised at Brin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30934482)

Not to interrupt you mid-troll, but you're aware that the fire and police services are capitalist in nature? They were originally devised because the poor had cheap, flammable housing and the rich wanted to protect their property and to protect the upstanding members of society (generally the rich) from the criminals and thugs (generally the poor). They might seem broadly socialist to you now as they're supposedly there for the good of all (although this isn't always the case either), but that's certainly not the way they started out.

China Betrayed Them (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932738)

The compromise that Google made with China was agreeing to Chinese censorship in exchange for China's protection from privacy invasion beyond that allowed by the laws Google agreed to follow. Then Google saw that protection was either useless against Chinese hackers, or betrayed by the Chinese government itself (or both).

When you pay the mafia for "protection" but you get broken into anyway, you stop paying the mafia. If you can. We'll see whether Google is tougher than China's mafia government.

Re:China Betrayed Them (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932978)

Yep, this wasn't some moral decision. Google was perfectly happy to play ball with China until they stole some of Google's propriety code (and hence threatened their bottom line). If China had never threatened Google financially, they would happily have gone on turning over names and censoring the web indefinitely.

Re:China Betrayed Them (3, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933274)

> they stole some of Google's propriety code

I haven't seen anyone saying they did this. What they did was attack some of Google's customers, specifically some who work for human rights in China. Granted, since it was a hacking attempt at Google itself, they could probably have gone for code instead, but that's not what happened.

China's reputation for industrial espionage may or may not be especially deserved. Their human rights record, however, there is little dispute of.

Re:China Betrayed Them (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933940)

If you read Google's initial release on the attack, you'll see that after they talk about the gmail accounts being hacked, buried at the bottom is the mention that the attackers also stole some of Google's "intellectual property." Later reports [wired.com] specified that the attack was aimed specifically at stealing proprietary source code (not just from Google, but from several other big companies as well).

Poor people had to leave the USSR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30932880)

The family lived with Michael's mother in a small, three-room apartment in Moscow
OMG!!! People were living 3 people in a room at that time. WTF?!

The real reason: code. (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932946)

If China rips off the iPod, Apple will know. They can buy and dismantle a knock-off, dump the ROMs, and prove that they have been ripped off. In Apple's case they can also lock down iTunes, or just rake in the iTunes revenue from the rip-off product users, but other manufacturers don't necessarily have that option.

If China rips off Google Search, Google will not know, or not be able to prove it, since all the code will be on a server in China.

So, if Google got wind that their Chinese employees were ripping off their code, that's a big deal. Big enough to pull out of China?

What the hell is with the summaries lately?! (3, Insightful)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30932984)

particularly regarding Sergey Brin was born in the USSR which played a big part in this decision.

Holy shit, can we please proofread summaries before submitting stories? How the hell did you people pass high school English?

Re:What the hell is with the summaries lately?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933216)

Can't speak for the rest of the world but but at least in the USA high school I went to they didn't teach English. (It was a while ago but I'm sure it hasn't improved much.) Got to read lots of boring books, memorize lists of words to spell correctly and occasionally write some bullshit essay which felt more like filling in a form letter. Oh and you can't forget the analyzing of poems and literature to extract more meaning then 'I want to bone you.' And people wonder why students taught English in nations where English is a second or third language have better grammar and writing skills.

Re:What the hell is with the summaries lately?! (1)

SunTzuWarmaster (930093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933490)

I primary schooled in USA from 1991-2004, in Florida (usually ranked in the bottom quartile among states), and have since secondary schooled here (2004-current). I took a Reading/Grammar/English/Literature (depending on the year) course every year during that time period.

We had the standard battery of pronunciation, spelling tests, grammar rules, sentence diagramming, 3-paragraph essays, literature/poetry analysis, and so forth.

Being that I went to school in a state in the bottom quartile, I imagine that better educations were received elsewhere. Where did you go to school?

Re:What the hell is with the summaries lately?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933452)

The submitter was born in the USSR, you insensitive clod.

Corporate warfare... (0, Troll)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933006)

Could these actions have been all started by Google's largest competitor Microsoft? I mean it's not out of the realm of possibilities to think that MS would love to have the Chinese market all to themselves, by having a back room deal with the Chinese Govt to target Google.

Re:Corporate warfare... (2, Interesting)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933168)

Could MS have done it? Yes. Did they have to? No. China's government is plenty evil without Redmond being involved. Occam's Razor and all of that.

Re:Corporate warfare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933338)

Find a good shrink. Seriously.

Obligatory... (1)

Mr_Miagi (1648543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933122)

Because in Soviet Russia, China censors Sergey Brin....

Re:Obligatory... (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933402)

Nope. It sounds odd in many ways but the meme should be: in Soviet Russia China removes censorships from Google! It's in the real word that China was censoring Google (with Google's active consent)

Brin is a Russian Jew (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30933296)

As such, he and his ancestors have seen plenty of discrimination and perhaps a pogrom or two, too. They were persecuted by the Czars, they were persecuted by Stalin, and basically, none of the USSR leaders after Stalin had much sympathy for them, either. I think Brin has a sharpened and sensitive view of things related to freedom of speech and other civil liberties.

What decision? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30933348)

The article suggests that Google decided to remove censorship and just needs time to do this, meanwhile giving the Chinese gov. a chance to wise-up.

This is NOT TRUE. Censorship was removed immediately after the statement on their blog was made, only to be reinstated a few hours later, probably under threat of having *.google.cn blacklisted.

There is no decision whatsoever. Things are being negotiated, which can only mean they will continue censored operation. The suggestion of a "ultimatum" to operate uncensored or not-at-all is totally false.

BTW, Google does not need to censor in order to operate a censored search engine. Just spider from within China and the Great Firewall should do the work for you.

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