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Google Highlights Censored Search Terms In China

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the websearch-sunlight-project dept.

Google 99

itwbennett writes "Responding to complaints from Chinese Googlers that the search engine is 'inconsistent and unreliable,' Google has updated its service to help users steer clear of search queries that will result in page errors. Google will now highlight characters and phrases that are likely to 'break' a user's connection. 'By prompting people to revise their queries, we hope to reduce these disruptions and improve our user experience from mainland China,' the company said in a blog post."

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Funny no comments on slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180749)

When looking at this, I feelt it funny that there still was no comments on it.

Maybe Im a first poster (dont think so)

so... someting broke my connection

Re:Funny no comments on slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180767)

You actually were frist psot.

This makes a lot of sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180785)

My friend and I couldnt figure out why communications would break down over gmail/google talk. I wonder if this is why...certain terms breaking our connection.

Re:This makes a lot of sense (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180915)

It's because the Chinese government sucks so much ass. What a bunch of fucking dicks! For fuck's sake, leave people the hell alone to conduct their lives in peace already!

Re:This makes a lot of sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181167)

But then people may use their freedom in unapproved manners!

Wait, were we talking about the USA or China?

Re:This makes a lot of sense (3, Insightful)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181225)

leave people the hell alone to conduct their lives in peace already!

Sorry, but you were filtered... nobody could read you there.

Re:This makes a lot of sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181657)

Like the us? oh wait... not so much.

Re:This makes a lot of sense (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40182871)

Gmail uses ssl, search may or may not.
Don't see why your Gmail would break.

But this is another reason all the USA haters out there should really consider whether they want the Internet run by the UN as China is now proposing.

Re:This makes a lot of sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40190931)

SSL is only as secure as the 3 parties involved: the site owner/operator, the user's browser, and the certificate issuer.

You compromise any 3 of these...

Re:This makes a lot of sense (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#40191421)

As opposed to the US currently taking down any .com, .net or .org site they damn well please because you hurt some corporation's feelings? As someone that lives in Canada, I don't think the UN could do a whole lot worse.

Hidden censorship (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180813)

Hidden censorship is worse than obvious censorship. Shame on Google for hiding China's shame.

Re:Hidden censorship (2)

Quakeulf (2650167) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180841)

Fuck governments who censor the internet. That's all.

Re:Hidden censorship (2)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180843)

I'm still trying to work out if Google is not being American evil, not being Chinese evil, being completely evil, or not being evil at all in all of this.

Re:Hidden censorship (0)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180917)

don't forget, goog is an AD AGENCY.

remember bewitched (the 60's sitcom)? darren was an ad-man. the precursor of what google is, today, essentially.

you think an advertising agency can be anything BUT evil?

come on. get real. I know they give shiny things out, but you have to always remember what their mission in life is. TO SELL THINGS (on behalf of others).

if you keep it in perspective, you never again confuse google with some benevolent organization.

like things in the modern world, when someone tries to convince you they are giving you a gift for free, you have to think if there are any free lunches in this world. (and yes, I know google pays for free lunches, lol; but they also insist you work long hours for free, too!)

google is simply a company. companies are never there for your benefit. never.

Re:Hidden censorship (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180959)

Oh God! A company having the audacity to tell you about things you might want to buy?! Truly, they are the most evil people to have ever walked the face of this good Earth.

Re:Hidden censorship (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181429)

You forgot to toss in a couple "U R TEH PRODUCT NOT TEH CUSTMERZ!!!1!!1!LAWL"s in there just for good measure and increased fearmogering.

Re:Hidden censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40182641)

It's true - the only form of life lower than child molesters and murderers are advertisers. How it can still be legal let alone respected is beyond my ability to comprehend just how desperate is the human condition. Pitiful really.

Re:Hidden censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40183673)

You forgot IP lawyers and people who talk in the theatre.

Re:Hidden censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181099)

Google is Darren Stevens. Good analogy. So you have established that Google is a Dick.

The question is: Is Google Sick Dick or Gay Dick?

Re:Hidden censorship (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181367)

>>>google is simply a company. companies are never there for your benefit. never.

I agree with the first sentence, because companies should not be worshipped like football teams. They are inaminate entities and nothing more. But disagree with the second. Companies ARE there to serve the customer and keep him/her happy, because it they don't they end-up like Montgomery Wards or Circuit Shitty (bankrupt).

I visited Wards during its final selloff. The employees there looked extremely depressed, and it was kinda sad, but that's how a free market works. You either win the "votes" of the customers' dollars, or you don't and get removed. The market is a democracy where the Demos (the People) decide who wins and loses. (Except when government interfere with bailouts/stimulus/corporate welfare.) So far Google has been winning the votes, while other ad agencies like Youtube struggle to survive.

Re:Hidden censorship (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181593)

So far Google has been winning the votes, while other ad agencies like Youtube struggle to survive.

Head asplode.

Re:Hidden censorship (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181615)

companies are never there for your benefit. never.

Yes they are. I invest in companies, companies pay my salary, pay taxes, invest in research that improves lives. My retirement fund is filled with companies working on maximizing profit and I don't mind any of that, because it will make my retirement better.

Companies make things and provide services that I pay money for, because if I were to make those things or do those services, they are more expensive and not done as well.

WHAT I don't like is when companies cross from amoral (no morals, good or evil) into the realm of immoral. However since what is or what isn't immoral is relative and subjective, I have to choose the companies I do business with, with care. The problem is, too many people don't care enough to be bothered.

Example: Walmart used to be a decent company. Now, it is nothing more than a machine that forces crappier and crappier products and services upon the unsuspecting and uncaring people. I agree with SNAPPER, and instead of buying a cheap lawnmower from Walmart, I now specifically will buy Snapper, because they are uncompromising. A rare feat in today's business.

Re:Hidden censorship (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40182149)

Walmart used to be a decent company. Now, it is nothing more than a machine that forces crappier and crappier products and services upon the unsuspecting and uncaring people.

Dude, I'm pretty sure that's specifically Walmart's business model - cheap for cheap.

Re:Hidden censorship (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 2 years ago | (#40183561)

People only see the prices for goods and services, and rarely think about the real costs.

Re:Hidden censorship (1)

dwye (1127395) | more than 2 years ago | (#40184671)

No, Google is a magazine publishing a new edition every time you hit Search. The are paid by the ad agencies every time they place one in front of you, then more if you click on it, etc., whereas Time only gets paid for the column-inch of ads.

Seriously, telling users (who aren't customers, after all) what terms to avoid is about as far as Google can go, until they acquire their own nuclear arsenal and demonstrate a willingness to use it. The PRC is doing the censorship, not Google.

Re:Hidden censorship (3, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181265)

I would think that giving people interactive hints that can be used to work around censorship is generally 'not evil'. More evil than taking a stand and ignoring the Chinese government until they're completely blocked and replaced wholesale with a Chinese government controlled search engine? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Re:Hidden censorship (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180849)

Hw are they hiding it? They're blatantly pointing out that users shouldn't use terms least they be disconnected or run into censorship, even for common things that they might not have thought of before. Now youll probably get a warning for something when you weren't even remotely looking for something subversive.

Re:Hidden censorship (2)

Zebai (979227) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180873)

I could of sworn I remember seeing an article that google was no longer censoring in china, did they go back on that while I wasn't looking?

Re:Hidden censorship (4, Informative)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181129)

It's not Google doing the censoring. Apparently China interferes somehow with connections that are caught searching for various terms. Google now highlights certain words and pops up a notice that it has observed these words may break your connection.

Re:Hidden censorship (5, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181139)

From TFS:

Responding to complaints from Chinese Googlers that the search engine is 'inconsistent and unreliable,' Google has updated its service to help users steer clear of search queries that will result in page errors. Google will now highlight characters and phrases that are likely to 'break' a user's connection.

My reading of that is that Google is being censored, not that Google is censoring as otherwise not a word in it makes sense.

If Google were censoring, then the search engine would work normally, it's just certain search results would not appear. So a search for "Tienanmen Square Massacre" would come up with pages of results of, say, Fred Tienanmen's blog entry where he massacres those proposing that squares have the same sized sides, but would be absent anything about some funny business that occurred in China during the 1980s.

That's not what's happening though. What TFS is saying is that users are suffering random page errors, that the engine feels "inconsistent and unreliable". That's consistent with a third party, say, perhaps, the Great Firewall of China, interrupting page downloads as they happen because they have naughty words on them.

You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180887)

Hidden censorship is worse than obvious censorship. Shame on Google for hiding China's shame.

I don't understand this logic at all. From the summary:

Google will now highlight characters and phrases that are likely to 'break' a user's connection.

Uh so it looks like Google is calling attention to China's censorship and giving users a nod ahead of time that their search is going to be censored. This is far from "hiding" anything and, conversely, lets the user know about the censorship. The other good thing this does is that if I'm interested in censored terms and my IP hits the great firewall with these censored terms, the government might build a dossier on my entire histories to see what else I'm interested in and have dirt on me if they need it. But if Google is warning me ahead of time, this never hits the firewall and China doesn't get to profile their citizens based on search queries. Google will enable you, if you so choose, to appear to keep your nose clean.

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180937)

But if Google is warning me ahead of time, this never hits the firewall and China doesn't get to profile their citizens based on search queries.

What you type still goes thru the network, so even if Google tells the user "bad search query", the Chinese Government can still see what is passed between the user and Google to make the decision. So profiling of citizens is still available. Unless that the Chinese Government isn't monitoring the Internet. But who are we kidding?

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (2)

equex (747231) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181041)

Unless the list of ALL the words are transferred to ALL the users so the logic occurs entirely in a JS and nothing is transferred out, I agree. This sounds stupid. I doubt the Great Firewall will allow this list to be distributed.

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181207)

Include a list of MD5 hashes of forbidden words instead?

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40183813)

You have just failed your job interview for the security analyst position. Please hand over your temporary tag. A guard will escort you out of the building.

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#40191471)

Except it's not a SECURITY issue, it's simply a way to mask words in a way that would over-tax their firewall were it to attempt filtering them (especially if salted). MD5 may be broken, but it still takes a HELL of a lot longer to scan a thousand MD5 hashed value than plaintext.

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180979)

yeah, exactly. they are enabling the corrupt government and helping them play their stupid control games.

sure, they help you avoid the chinese knowing what you are searching for. but you still can't search for it! they say 'no no, you may want to avoid thinking about this or that concept, citizen!'.

this enables the chinese government. it supports it!

if they had any balls, they'd just get out of china entirely. their half-assed 'freedom' is bullshit when they put it thru a sieve. but china means MONEY and we'll not see google take a real stand when there is money to be made!

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (5, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181221)

Google is empowering the Chinese citizen with knowledge that he/she is actively being censored. Previously, it was all mysterious rumors. I mean, they know there's censorship, but without defined boundaries. That aspect of being unknown invokes fear. Fear is control. What Google is doing is providing solidification to that fact. As I've said earlier, this will backfire can cause Google to be kicked out.

The Chinese government is a lot like that mysterious "Architect" in the movie The Matrix. They want to control without being the source of instability. By making censorship an actively known issue, they've become a major fly in the ointment. The government will not have this. I guarantee!

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (4, Informative)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181323)

sure, they help you avoid the chinese knowing what you are searching for. but you still can't search for it!

Why do people run their mouths when they have no idea what they are talking about? As can be plainly seen in this screenshot [blogcdn.com] , it is quite clear that you can search for it by simply clicking the "search anyway" link. Google is just being helpful and letting you know that you are probably going to not be able to get much of a response and it is out of their control.

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (4, Insightful)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181793)

I dont think you're understanding whats happening here at all.

Google is not removing results from their search. A user comes along and searches for "Human Rights Abuses in Tibet" for example. If I run the search I get about 4.5 million hits (my lord, 4.5 million hits on that? Anyway...) because i'm in the US.

If I were in china, i'd get a 404 page not found error, or some other weird obsure error page.

Whats happening is someone between me and Google is intercepting the search query, deciding on some filter if what im searching for is appropriate based on some unknown list of "not to be known" subjects, and if my searches dont pass the test I dont get the results back. Peoplere were complaining to Google because it seemed like it was Google's fault.

So Google is now going to turn around and say "Hey, you, user. Yeah you! Just wanna let you know, searching for that has resulted in people not getting results."

So, yeah, way to jump on the "OMG GOOGLE IS EVIL EVIL EVIL EVIL AND IM SMART FOR POINTING IT OUT HAHAHAHAHAHA" bandwagon. Your bias is showing.

403 or 404? (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40184603)

If I were in china, i'd get a 404 page not found error

A "403 Forbidden" error would be more informative and more appropriate.

Re:403 or 404? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40185433)

> A "403 Forbidden" error would be more informative and more appropriate.

You understand that the error messages are due to the Great Firewall of China blocking the search results for blacklisted queries, and not Google self-censoring the search results, right? Google has no control over the error message.

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (2)

Lisias (447563) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181983)

this enables the chinese government. it supports it!

So by pinpoint someone's mischievousness before it happens, I'm empowering the mischief.

Ok. (tongue in cheek)

I'm dying to read what YOU think it should be done.

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40182091)

He said it: stop the business in China altogether. That'll show 'em chinese oppressors, they'll suffer! Because chinese overlords really need Google, and it's not like there's any other search engines in China [baidu.com] where people will flock despite it being censored as well.

Oh, I know, if Google's gonna not just talk the talk about not being evil, they should walk the walk, create a mercenary army and overthrow chinese government.

(On a side note, $any_corporation_name + mercenary army capable of overthrowing governments sounds like a nice scenario for a distopia)

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40186403)

(On a side note, $any_corporation_name + mercenary army capable of overthrowing governments sounds like a nice scenario for a distopia)

Sounds like the USA to me.

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (2)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181019)

Uh so it looks like Google is calling attention to China's censorship and giving users a nod ahead of time that their search is going to be censored.

Except they oh so carefully avoid any mention of the censorship or the cause for the connection breaking, instead implying that the search terms themselves are breaking the connection. They go out of their way to make this seem like a technical glitch rather than what it is, so I'd say they're very much not calling attention to censorship.

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181473)

If Google mentioned that it was due to China censoring the internet, China would censor the explanation.

you don't get it (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181711)

you are blaming google for what china is doing, and you are not giving google any credit for being subtle, perhaps because you are a person who doesn't understand anything subtle

china is going to censor the web. with google or without google

now anyone with an iq over 50 can tell why their connection is breaking: it's not google, it's china being a censor

they didn't carefully avoid anything, they didn't say "china is censoring us" because then china would cut off google

do you understand now?

Re:you don't get it (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40183967)

I understand perfectly fine, what you've misunderstood is my point. I'm not arguing that Google is doing something wrong here, but that eldavojohn's assertion that Google is calling attention to censorship and all that is false. Google is just trying to provide their users with a better user experience.

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (1)

RedDeadThumb (1826340) | more than 2 years ago | (#40182087)

Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

Re:You Have Severely Misplaced Shame (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 2 years ago | (#40186099)

You're being way too literal.

Google is doing the clever thing by using very carefully worded language which makes it abundantly clear what's going on to anybody with any clue at all (and Chinese net users certainly have a clue about this sort of thing), without stating so explicitly.

If they did as you suggest, and explicitly mentioned censorship, they'd immediately get stomped on by the Chinese government.

Re:Hidden censorship (5, Insightful)

_0x783czar (2516522) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180905)

Google is not hiding, nor aiding China's censorship. In a way... Google is actually "highlighting" China's censorship. Google is a company that wants to keep its customers. It's customers think that Google is to blame for what they can't find (at least from what I understand about the article) and so Google is trying to make it clear that certain things they look for will not work, since their Government doesn't trust them. To those who grasp this concept, every time a word they type in the query box gets highlighted its like Google saying "sorry, your Government doesn't want you to know about that". Whether Google has any other motive than just making it clear that they are not to blame for failed searches or not, the result in the minds of the observant is still worth noting.

Re:Hidden censorship (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180935)

Hidden censorship is worse than obvious censorship. Shame on Google for hiding China's shame.
 

How is drawing specific attention to the things that invoke Chinese government censorship supposed to be hiding the censorship?

Re:Hidden censorship (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180971)

Google helpfully telling the Chinese people, "Hey, this search term won't work, maybe you should try another *wink wink*". That should make it easier to to bypass China's filters.

Re:Hidden censorship (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181431)

I actually find it fairly subversive of Google to post the terms that the Chinese government has ordered banned. "Hey guys, here's what the government DON'T want you to know about. Have fun!".

Re:Hidden censorship (1)

beltsbear (2489652) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181437)

I don't think you have followed this issue. Google initially followed some of China's requests but then stopped, closed up shop in China and redirected requests to its HK site that is not censored.. Now the Chinese government is using it's firewall to block (censor) google searches to that site. Google is not censoring at all. And the government of China is making google look unreliable to it's customers who are seeing disconnects.

Re:Hidden censorship (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181485)

Highlighting the "offending" words is what I'd call the opposite of hiden censorship.

Reminds me of stills during prohibition (5, Interesting)

shoppa (464619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180891)

During prohibition in the US, stills could be owned and sold, just not used to produce alcoholic beverages. There were still legitimate purposes for stills, e.g. malt extract for baking.

The manufactures helped out, by giving very explicit instructions on exactly what NOT TO DO, because if you followed all the steps, you'd end up with whiskey. And you wouldn't want to do that.

Re:Reminds me of stills during prohibition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181683)

Law is the same today. You can own/sell/produce a still, except if you are distilling alcohol. Then you need a license.

Re:Reminds me of stills during prohibition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40182207)

No, the law is not the same today. Today, you can get a license. During prohibition, you could not. Is it really not clear to you how these two scenarios are very different?

Highlighting the censorship (5, Informative)

johnjaydk (584895) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180893)

If You read TFA then You will see that this service actually HIGHLIGHTS the censorship process.

IMHO that's doing the right thing.

Re:Highlighting the censorship (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181651)

Yeah; I miss the old Google, and I'm glad to see a little of it shining through here. This should be encouraged.

Cultural problem. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180925)

Until the Chinese public rejects the idea that their exploitation is for the "common good" they'll continue to be a 2nd rate country.
The moment the Chinese realize that they deserve the basic rights granted in western countries they'll become unstoppable. I don't care if they've got a thousands year old culture. It's wrong. Right now they simply don't value their own rights an freedoms and they'll remain oppressed if they don't want to help themselves.

Of course, this also means violent bloody revolution, as the current ruling elite likes their privileged status and won't give it up without a fight. This is why you see the regime desperate to control information, as every taste of westernization brings prosperity lightyears beyond the old ways. They know when the revolution comes, their heads will be on the block.

Re:Cultural problem. (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#40191615)

Which is funny because the governments of almost every 1st world country are trying their damnest to emulate China's level of control over their citizens.

Just China? (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180943)

I'd like to see this feature rolled out in every country. There are very few countries that aren't busy censoring something; Whether it's the copywrongers or some anti-terror legislation, or the latest "Save the children" law, Google receives piles of censorship demands weekly from every government. We can't just say "Shame on China!" when everyone else is doing variations on the same theme.

Re:Just China? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181181)

In Germany you often get a little notice at the bottom of the results if something has been filtered because of our censorship laws (mostly fro-teh-children bullshit). It would be nice if it was more obvious and more specific though. At least they link to chillingeffects.org, where you can compare local search results to "global" search results.

Re:Just China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181299)

I'd like to see this feature rolled out in every country

Google already does [techdirt.com] , but right now other countries aren't cutting connections containing "bad words", so they didn't feel the need to tell you in advance.

Re:Just China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40205465)

The problem here is fairly unique to China, and is more than simple censorship. The issue is that China actually severs network connections. This applies to all web sites, not just Google, and this is what people mean when they talk about the Great Firewall of China. Other countries have a legal process they go through that Google complies with. China's censorship goes beyond that.

The consequence of this is that Chinese people get the impression that Google is simply flaky (an impression I'm sure China doesn't mind, since it drives traffic to their own Baidu).

Google's solution to this distinctly Chinese problem wouldn't be meaningful for any other censorship regime, and Google already does report when search results are being censored.

Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180981)

I'm confused by this post - I thought they pulled out of china. Why wouldn't they respond to chinese googlers by saying "use baidu"?

Like Clippy? (1)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181007)

Sort of like MS Office's Clippy assistant?

What week is the river cleanup?

"It looks like you're trying to do one of the following:
  • Overthrow the government with deviant thoughts
  • Get yourself imprisoned
  • Find out when the government is cleaning up the polluted river by your home so you know when to start fishing again.

I suggest omitting the following words from your search: RIVER, WEEK, CLEANUP. Try 'What is the?' and you are sure to get better results from your query."

Google might get banned from China (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181073)

I applaud Google for this. But unfortunately Google might actually get banned for this. After all, they have Baidu to pick up the slack anyways (and they WILL roll over unlike Google). Google will be viewed as "inharmonious" to Chinese society. A harmonious society is an old Confucius concept that's been the new mantra of the PRC as of late. Which is ironic being that the Cultural Revolution's goal was to purge both Confucius and capitalistic ideology. But I digress.

Re:Google might get banned from China (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181929)

It's actually older than Confucius, including the bit about the state getting to define what is and is not "harmonious." Needless to say, it has been popular with the various rulers of China ever since.

What does the net look like from the PRC? (2)

rabidMacBigot() (33310) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181105)

Has anyone got any good articles, documentaries, or personal experiences about what ordinary Internet use is like in the PRC? Does filtering or censorship show up as a brick wall "COUNTERREVOLUTIONARY CONTENT FORBIDDEN", or a passive "sorry, no such content found"? How often does it affect ordinary daily browsing? If ordinary browsers are aware of it, do they generally develop a seething resentment of it, or a shrug-and-live-with-it accpetance (or resignation) like some western employees whose workplaces filter access? I'd be interested to read something objective about what the filter actually is, what it does, and how the Chinese generally feel about it.

Re:What does the net look like from the PRC? (1)

clodney (778910) | more than 2 years ago | (#40182131)

I was in China last week, and tried to go to Facebook (which is a blocked site in China). I don't remember the specific error, but it was something along the lines of "server not responding". It didn't tell me it was blocked or chide me for looking or anything like that.

That reminded me that I was behind the great firewall, so I didn't go looking for any other questionable content, and I was unaware of anything else getting blocked/filtered in the time I was there.

Re:What does the net look like from the PRC? (1)

VendettaMF (629699) | more than 2 years ago | (#40191185)

I live and work in China.
The standard Great Firewall error is displayed as "Connection Reset" in Firefox.

There are two (commonly known) sets of blocking. A lengthy list of domains that never work, and content scanning temporary blocks.
The scanning works on both outgoing and incoming traffic, and once triggered for a domain will block that domain in its entirety for a given user/connection for between 5 and 30 minutes.

In essence if you search for something using the key words then you get a connection reset immediately. If your results contain key words then you will see the result list, but further access to that domain is blocked and gets the connection reset message.

In either case the block is frustrating and unpredictable enough to encourage people to modify their browsing habits.

Re:What does the net look like from the PRC? (1)

spacehunt (6406) | about 2 years ago | (#40194347)

Whenever you do something the GFW doesn't like, it will inject TCP RST packets to kill your TCP session(s). They've been doing this for years.

It could all backfire (3, Funny)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181157)

A virus that infects thousands or computers could send out these key search words and take down an entire network.

Re:It could all backfire (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181311)

Backfire for who? Google isn't the one causing problems with certain searches. And I get the impression it doesn't cause general network interruptions, only Google is blocked.

HTTPS (2)

InfiniteZero (587028) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181247)

Automatically redirect to the https version of Google. Problem solved.

Re:HTTPS (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181777)

Except that the Chinese government probably would just require Google use their signed certificate in China. Then they can MITM Google's servers anyway.

Google bans the english terms also (1, Interesting)

Cito (1725214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181451)

link to test out yourself: https://www.google.com.hk/?esrch=SearchNotices::OptIn&q=%E9%95%BF%E6%B1%9F&hl=en [google.com.hk]

Screenshot of Google banning the term Freedom of Speech: http://image.dude-suit.net/albums/userpics/10002/googlecensor.png [dude-suit.net]

and it's google blocking it, since I'm in the states unlike their blog where they make it sound like it's china blocking before the search gets to them, which is untrue.

Re:Google bans the english terms also (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181633)

No its not.

They allow you to still search the damn thing, they are saying "If you search for this, its possible the great firewall of china will cut the results from you". Another term may be more beneficial.

They don't do any of the censoring. Try to use your fucking brain.

China is doing the blocking — not Google (2)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181705)

You have no idea what you're talking about.

The search can still be performed, but it is China — NOT Google — that is doing the censoring by interfering with queries which contain offending terms.

Before, if someone in mainland China performed a search containing an offending term, equipment that is part of the so-called "Great Firewall" would interfere with the search, making it appear that the search results page was unavailable or resetting the browser's connection, and then making Google unavailable to the user for a period.

Now, Google is warning you that will happen based on observations of which search terms resulted in China's filters blocking the search results.

Why are there so many ignorant comments on this post claiming that it's "Google" the one doing the blocking? They're not.

And to add to my comments... (2)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181829)

You can still do the search by hitting "Search Anyway". Anywhere other than mainland China, this search will work. Just try it. If you're in mainland China and you elect to search anyway, that will result in your connection being reset and will temporarily break your ability to interact with Google. It is China, not Google, that is doing this.

Re:Google bans the english terms also (1)

TheGatesofBill (637809) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181967)

Wow, that "Search anyways" button is REALLY hard to find, I can see how hard that must be for you. The issue is that if you run that search from inside China, your access to Google gets blocked for around a minute. To try to help explain why to users, they pop that message up.

Re:Google bans the english terms also (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40181993)

and it's google blocking it, since I'm in the states unlike their blog where they make it sound like it's china blocking before the search gets to them, which is untrue.

Uhm, what? Do you even read what you post and do you even read the fine summary? It clearly says "We've observed that searching for [] in mainland China may temporarily break your connection to Google. This interruption is outside Google's control. ... Search anywyas". You can click that "Search anyways" and get your results without any bans, blocks and network timeouts, given you're not in mainland China, where you'd presumably get connection dropped after trying to Search anyways.

Re:Google bans the english terms also (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40182371)

Good grief people, is this really that hard for you to understand?

China has the censorship in place that closes your connection or otherwise interrupts service when you do forbidden searches. Google figured out roughly what search words trigger the chinese censorship and is giving a warning that the entered search is likely to trigger the chinese firewall. Google is not forbidding the search, and in fact lets you continue with the search if you want. It's just warning you up front that your search is likely to trigger the chinese censorship which if triggered will close your connection (or otherwise disrupt service in some way) for a few minutes.

Re:Google bans the english terms also (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40183145)

and it's google blocking it, since I'm in the states unlike their blog where they make it sound like it's china blocking before the search gets to them, which is untrue.

How about actually clicking "search anyway" when prompted with the popup? You'd see that it actually searched anyway and turned up the term in question.

Probably because in the US there's no Chinese government sitting between you and the loading of your search results -- unlike in China.

Feedback channels are grrreeaaattt (3, Insightful)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181515)

By google providing users with information about what is blocked they are enabled to more rapidly formulate queries which bypass censorship. The change is a win for all but oppressive control.

Give real help (1)

wgkylep (880269) | more than 2 years ago | (#40182039)

Really want to help your China users? Make Google HTTPS-only in China and force DNS resolution of non-Chinese Google servers so their government has no idea what they're searching for.

Re:Give real help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40182359)

Sounds great in theory, but remember how DigiNotar's hack was first discovered as MITM attack against Google users in Iran? Now extrapolate that to a country that is much more overt in messing with Internet to protect status quo.

In any case, they can just make https connections to google.com just mysteriously time out as well.

Google is Double-talkin' (1)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | more than 2 years ago | (#40182427)

A lot of people are having trouble with this article because Google is having to do very Political things in this case.

Google engineers know for damn sure why the connections are being reset. But if they say that explicitly, the Chinese government will rambunctiously cuddle them. Google has already had troubles in the past with the Chinese government. So, what google has done here is said, "Oh no, there's something out of our control. If you do this search then your connection will be reset."

Note the usage of the passive voice there. Google is saying and pretending to believe one thing, while doing another. It's necessary, but unfortunate.

You can see this yourself (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40183183)

As an example:

Go to http://www.google.com.hk/ [google.com.hk]
and put in
tiananmen square massacre

It'll show those three words in red everywhere on the page.

Revise Query (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40183689)

By prompting people to revise their queries, we hope to reduce these disruptions and improve our user experience from mainland China,' the company said in a blog post.

ZOMG the list of censored terms has to be bigger than War and Peace. Here's an idea, throw all of those terms at the great firewall and buffer overflow results (or something like that). Then the Chinese people can see what the nanny state has been hideing from them. Information IS power.

Fuck Google (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 2 years ago | (#40184407)

Google should tell China to go fuck itself. The owners and employees should be ashamed. They should realize that the free and open sharing of information, something they have enabled for years, was itself enabled by societies that value freedom of both the written and spoken word. Now they are just another evil coward corporation that can't stomach the thought of reduced profits even if it means kissing the ass of one of the most free speech repressing countries in the world.

Re:Fuck Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40185073)

Yes, because people of PRC will start a rebellion over lack of Google search. Instead of, I don't know, switching to Baidu which won't even tell them about censorship, or something like that.

Did you miss the part where they stopped censoring search results for China and now it's censored by chinese infrastructure out of their control, or you just won't let that stand in the path of a good old Google bashing?

A consequence of basic network architecture is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40184957)

that the damage interprets Google as Censorship and routes China around internet.

Wait... that's not quite right...

Bravo Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40185707)

However, to be truly faithful to the antithesis of "inconsistent and unreliable", Google must back and finance the struggles of anti-censorship luminaries as Julian Assange and Bradley Manning.
Google you need to step up and put your money where your mouth is; or are you just cherry picking popular left wing causes to champion like every other spineless organizations?

actually Google does have control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40194275)

Google claims that these limits are "outside of our control", this is not exactly true. The truth is that Google just doesn't have the balls to do the right thing.
What Google should do is perform the search anyway, and when the Chinese government raises a fuss you tell them to fuck off.
It's time to stop accepting bullshit like this. The way you win rights is by simply doing the thing you know to be right and then fighting the entities that try to stop you.
However it has never been the case (as far as I know) that a corporation (especially one with stockholders) has effected this kind of positive change.

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