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Google Committed to Chinese Business

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the going-the-long-haul dept.

175

Snowgen writes "Despite this week's earlier story that hinted Google may consider pulling out of China over the topic of censorship, Reuters is now quoting Sergey Brin as saying that 'Google Inc. is committed to doing business in China despite criticism the company has faced for abiding by Chinese government censorship restrictions.'" More from the article: "Brin told a small group of invited journalists: 'I think it's perfectly reasonable to do something different. Say, OK, let's stand by the principle against censorship and we won't actually operate there ... That's an alternative path. It's not the one we've chosen to take right now'."

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Typo in headline (5, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503306)

It should read "Google committed to Chinese Revenue"

Re:Typo in headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503399)

Google has a legal obligation to make money for its shareholders. The US forces foreign companies to obey its laws when operating in the US, why should it be different for China? Oh, but you probably can't hear me because you are too busy using your ipod, computer, cell phone, or any of the other 50 things in your immediate vicinity that were made by evil China.

Re:Typo in headline (3, Insightful)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503628)

No. Google does not have a legal obligation to make money for it's shareholders.

Google has a legal obligation to behave in a manner dictated to it by the voting shareholders. While this is usually a directive to make money, it could be other things. It just so happens that Page and Brin have 66.2 percent of the voting power. [eweek.com] So they can actually do whatever they want to do. THEY are the final word on China or not, so you can point the finger directly at them.

Re:Typo in headline (2, Interesting)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503442)

Google committed to share price. As somebody who rode a measly $5k up to $30k with Google shares, I happily have now stepped off the bandwagon of shareholders. The stock is overvalued. Google spreadhseet has showed that while AJAX Web apps have many neat features, they are not ready to take the place of OpenOffice.


What they think will gain from being in China will get offset by the corruption that will infiltrate the company. Pretty soon, the Chinese will want Google's research to start occuring over there, or they pull the plug. Anything they don't like, they'll pull the plug. Volunteering to work with them ultimately is far less profitable than working in a true free economy.

Re:Typo in headline (2, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504153)

In this, China is much like WalMart. Sure, you get the access to the world's largest middle-class, but, in return, the Chinese have you on a leash. Any time you do something internally that the Chinese dislike, they can tug the leash by threatening to revoke access to their market.

The same principle applies to WalMart. By getting access to WalMart you get access to the largest distribution system in the world. Initially, this is a huge windfall for your company. However, later on you see that you've given up a lot of control in return for access. Walmart (or China) can regulate your internal decisions by virtue of the fact that you're tied to their market.

Re:Typo in headline (1)

LionATL (62445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503553)

It should read "Google committed to censorship."

Re:Typo in headline (1)

master_meio (834537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503587)

While I don't care for the two morons above me, solemnly intoning the same old "blah blah obligation to shareholders blah blah maximizing profit" garbage, the fact is Google doesn't give a shit what some rabble of slashlosers thinks of its motives and morals. No one of consequence at google is going to see or care about your clever "chinese revenue" line. But, go a head and post them here if it feels good! All it says to me is that you don't really care about chinese people; you're just content to gum their oppressers' ankles from the comfort of your mom's basement.

Re:Typo in headline (1)

earthstar (748263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504036)

Considering the two recent press releases,its more like a show off..:
Something like,"It Hurts us morally you know to see whats happening in China,but what to do :( "

Kinda making a win win situation for'em by complying inside china, and at the same time trying to pacify others with democracy concerns - "Its so bad in china..blah blah"

Family Friendly Prices thanks to Death Camp Labor (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504563)

We've somehow gotten to used to the word "China" in our headlines to really see how preposterous this is. This is really outragerous because basically, they might as well be saying:

Google committed to Nazi Business Snowgen writes "Despite this week's earlier story that hinted Google may consider pulling out of Germany over the topic of censorship, Reuters is now quoting Sergey Brin as saying that 'Google Inc. is committed to doing business in Germany despite criticism the company has faced for abiding by Nazi censorship restrictions.'" More from the article: "Brin told a small group of invited journalists: 'I think it's perfectly reasonable to do something different. Say, OK, let's stand by the principle against censorship and we won't actually operate there ... That's an alternative path. It's not the one we've chosen to take right now'." (btw whoever comes up with "I invoke Godwin's law"... Fuck you, okay ):



Okay. So we're not here into alternate reality stuff of the kind like what if we hadn't gone to war with Nazi Germany. Even though Brin is fabulating about "Alternative Paths" etc. However what we should really be into is the following:

The chinese governments and the chinese elites are not the kind of people we should aid.

1. They have killed twenty million of their citizens in their "culture revolution" alone.

2. They execute people after fifteen minutes in court and nowadays even for petty crimes such as theft. It used to be they did that in stadiums by shooting people. Nowadays they have execution vans manned by two policemen, one judge, one court clerk and the executioner.

3. They are underselling our businesses and crippling our economy. Even though most of the shit we get to buy at Walmart or Target is made in China, nobody here works for 15 cents/hour.

4. Most of the merchandise Cosco (Chinese Overseas Company) sells over here is made in Laogai prison camps were millions of people slave for free and don't even get those 15 cents an hour

Principles? What're those? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503323)

Say, OK, let's stand by the principle against censorship and we won't actually operate there ... That's an alternative path. It's not the one we've chosen to take right now'.

He then added "I mean, what good are principles anyway? They don't make you any money. Keeping your word and following your beliefs, well, it's highly overrated.

Re:Principles? What're those? (2)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503367)

This is a race to the bottom. I think the ambivelence that Google displays is a reasonable response to a complicated issue. I don't think it's an unreasonable position to say you will cooperate with someone who is doing something that you dislike, because not cooperating is not going to stop them, and at least if you're the one cooperating, you know what's going on, and you can shape the process.

I'll disagree. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503582)

I think the ambivelence that Google displays is a reasonable response to a complicated issue.

I'll disagree. I don't see it as complicated at all.

Which do you value more?
#1. Money
#2. Your claimed morals and ethics?
I don't think it's an unreasonable position to say you will cooperate with someone who is doing something that you dislike, because not cooperating is not going to stop them, and at least if you're the one cooperating, you know what's going on, and you can shape the process.
That is based upon the unstated assumption that you will have any influence in what they're planning on doing.

And once you've sold your ethics and morals, you really don't have any position to bargain from. At that point, it's all about money. If you don't agree, then they'll dump you and bring in someone else ... and you'll have been complicit in all their actions up to that point.

Most people do not understand that morals and ethics are not "fuzzy". If there are "questions", it just means that you haven't hit your core morals/ethics yet.

Re:I'll disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503732)

Most people do not understand that morals and ethics are fuzzy. If there aren't questions, it just means you haven't been educated enough to understand that there really aren't absolutes in the context we call life. You tend to lump different situations together in an ill-formed attempt at naive abstraction. You use metaphors. You can't bear the thought that there isn't a god watching over you. You may have an idea of right and wrong, but damned if your's is the right one.

Re:I'll disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503824)

...really aren't absolutes in the context we call life


You do realize for that to be true, it would have to be an absolute?

Re:I'll disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504050)

there is no absolute moral dichotomy, you arrogant nit-prick (sic)

Re:I'll disagree. (1)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504357)

That is based upon the unstated assumption that you will have any influence in what they're planning on doing.
Of course, that's the entire point of cooperation. The Chinese government needs something from Google. Google can play ball to varying degrees, or they can stonewall and become marginalized.

Are you expendable? That's possible. But i'll put it to you again (and again this requires some trust in Google), is it not better to know for yourself what China is doing? Again, if there's no way for them to be stopped? Disengagement is not an effective solution. It's true in politics, it's true in business, it's true in society, and i'd say it holds true here too.

Obviously, i'm suggesting a pragmatic stance. And i'm going to give you a pragmatic response to your final statement. You are right regarding core morals and ethics. Once you've hit the bone, you can't cut any further. That doesn't mean that principles you are flexible on are not part of your ethical or moral structure.

Re:Principles? What're those? (3, Insightful)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503476)

If you were in China would you rather have a censored google or no google at all? Not living in China you could probably say no google, but I'm sure if you didn't have it, you would take the opposite opinion. You'd also probably thing it was evil of google to abandon your country. As a search company, their job is to make as much content accessibly to as many people as possible. Removing a major part of the population would be much worse than just removing some of the content.

Re:Principles? What're those? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503551)

As a search company, their job is to make as much content accessibly to as many people as possible. Removing a major part of the population would be much worse than just removing some of the content.

The government removes people. Google removes content. Google is complying with the wishes of the government, thus lending them power, thus helping them remove people. The american consumer, by buying Chinese products, is helping pay Chinese taxes, thus helping the government kill people. But, the American people haven't promised to "do no evil". Google has. Google is lying. Don't trust google. Don't trust Brin. Etc.

Re:Principles? What're those? (2, Interesting)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503774)

Wow. You are really off the mark.

If you were in China would you rather have a censored google or no google at all? Not living in China you could probably say no google, but I'm sure if you didn't have it, you would take the opposite opinion

This stance is so tired. Google is doing no good in China. Google doesn't have the ability to change a thing in China. Good search results (subjective) do not feed starving peoples, unseat oppresive leaders, or aid in revolts and protests. Especially if these results are pre-emptively censored.

I have yet to hear a Chinese citizen say "If only we had Google to search from we could change our nation."

As a search company, their job is to make as much content accessibly to as many people as possible.

Wrong.
  1. Google isn't a search company. Google has a search engine. Google is an advertising company selling searchers to advertisers. Google presents itself as a "Search Company" to the public eye because its a better PR stance.
  2. Thier job is to get as many searchers as possible to sell advertising to, not to get content to them. They attract these searchers by providing content, it is a means to an end - not the driving purpose.


Once you understand the fact that the searchers are the product, you will see that there is nothing positive about Google going into China. Its meerly a matter of making the largest Internet userbase in the world available to advertisers.

Re:Principles? What're those? (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503920)

So you think that if the US started making google censor some more of the content then it would be no good at all? I personally use google for a lot of things, most of them would not be censored. I would much rather have the crippled version than no version of google.

Re:Principles? What're those? (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504072)

Yay for your choice of search engines.

Search results are subjective. Because you think Google is great doesn't mean jack. Becuase you would still use google's search if it became censored here in America doesn't mean jack. Your opinions are not fulcrums of logical arguments. Your only standing argument is boils down to "I like Google."

No, I wouldn't prefer a crippled anything to the real deal.

Yes, a censored search engine is worthless.

Re:Principles? What're those? (2, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504308)

While I disagree with GP's opinion, you're attacking a straw man. No one asked if you'd prefer a censored Google to a non-censored Google. He asked if you'd prefer a censored Google or no Google at all.

Yes, a censored search engine is worthless.

So every search engine in existence is worthless? I disagree. The degree of censorship is certainly inversely proportional to the actual value to a person searching, but unless the censorship involves removing every single possible search result, it doesn't render the search engine "worthless". Would a search engine that included no hardcore pornography be "worthless" if the person using it was trying to find information about chemistry?

Re:Principles? What're those? (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504460)

Would a search engine that included no hardcore pornography be "worthless" if the person using it was trying to find information about chemistry?

This is a valid point, and one that I'm not denying - but in this discussion it somewhat of a moot point.

The overall point of the GGP/GP was that a censored Google is better than no Google at all for China. I didn't really clarify my rebuttal, and looking back at my post it looks like I think any censored search engine is completely useless - a ridiculous stance to take. In the context of China though, Google isn't doing anything that other search engines are already doing. The stance that Google is doing "some good" are just fanboi declarations because they hate having their darling ripped to shreds for its hypocrisy. Can you use it for search, sure. But the way a search engine was being employed in his argument was as some tool for democratic change. A censored google is useless in that regard.

Re:Principles? What're those? (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503989)

as long as the chinese are commited to censorship i'm glad there are open source projects out there to to help protect people from that kind of ruthless censorship.

As long as sites like the sourceforge are around, people will be able to communicate freely. Google is a busisness, they need to have project that make money, but to be honest if the chinese were so determined to end freedom of speech I'd be 100% behind google finding other ventures to make money at.

I have spent the last 12 years of my life believing that on the internet I could say Anything, at times it's been the only thing keeping me going. China should back off, and if china doesn't back off google should rally around the summer of code to help keep everyone liberties secure. afterall if they're making money off the chinese market they should pay a little forward.

Re:Principles? What're those? (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504442)

As long as sites like the sourceforge are around, people will be able to communicate freely


Might want to take a break from the bong for a few days, dude. Sites have to be accessed, so if someone else controls the access it doesn't matter how free & open the site is. There was an open relay notifier, but it's gone now, which kind of sums up the situation.

Re:Principles? What're those? (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504003)

He then added "I mean, what good are principles anyway? They don't make you any money. Keeping your word and following your beliefs, well, it's highly overrated.

And somewhere in Redmond, WA, someone is cackling...

Continuation (3, Funny)

Kesch (943326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503325)

"Brin told a small group of invited journalists: 'I think it's perfectly reasonable to do something different. Say, OK, let's stand by the principle against censorship and we won't actually operate there ... That's an alternative path. It's not the one we've chosen to take right now'."

The article goes on to say:

Brin said these words as a group of stockholders stood behind him holding a shotgun and several cattle prods

Re:Continuation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504123)

Since Sergei & Brin own over 66% of the stock, they are pointing the shotgun and cattle prods at each other, I presume?

Re:Continuation (2, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504126)

Brin said these words as a group of stockholders stood behind him holding a shotgun and several cattle prods

All while dancing, nubile imperial concubines and heavy sacks of pristine tea leaves and silk dangled seductively directly in front of the podium.

Google better should do so as U.S. one will bust (3, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503332)

As the Telcos got what they wanted to get to do with internet, i suspect that almost all of us will be vying for the freedom and equal opportunity of the internet in china.

Google should do wise to stay in china, as the thing closest to internet as we know it will only exist in china after some 6-12 months, thanks to 'Telecommunications OPPORTUNITY' act.

What "opportunity" this is i wonder ... Opportunity to f.ck up the biggest technological&international revolutiuon in the history of the world ?

Bad dog (1, Troll)

cuantar (897695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503334)

Google is appearing more and more like a Real American Corporation(TM) with each passing day. Shame on them.

Re:Bad dog (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503379)

Ok look we know its you Alex P Keaton. No amount of fake usernames will hide your gayness. Stop being a FAG!!!

p.s. Living in your mother's basement doesn't qualify you're still a FAG!!!

Re:Bad dog (1)

cuantar (897695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503404)

Who the hell is Alex P Keaton? Think you've got the wrong guy :)

Re:Bad dog (1)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503438)

Google is appearing more and more like a Real American Corporation(TM) with each passing day. Shame on them.

Gee whiz, maybe that's because they are a Real American Corporation. Tell you what, if you don't like Google or what they are doing, stop using them. It's the least you can do.

Re:Bad dog (2, Insightful)

Buran (150348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504009)

You missed the point.

Google's motto is "Do no evil".

Corporations do evil things.

Hence, Google becoming a RAC (tm) means that Google is being evil.

Which means Google is lying in its very motto.

Yea sure (5, Insightful)

bwd (936324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503340)

They are making it sound like they are taking some kind of stand in China. That is the impression I'm getting out of their comments. That is all BS. They're making the decision to not get left out of the China market even if that means compromising every principle they have. They are commited to making money in China, not free speech.

How does that old saying go? (2, Funny)

Blue6 (975702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503356)

Oh ya, It's money talks bullsh!t walks.

Re:How does that old saying go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503777)

You can say "bullshit" on slashdot. Nobody's stopping you. Seriously, you're just making yourself look like a fool. If you don't want to say it for some reason, then don't say it.

Question for Brin (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503357)

I have just one question for Brin: If censoring words like "democracy" to the people of the world's largest country, because you were asked to by its authoritarian government, isn't an "evil" thing for a company in the information-distribution business to do, then what exactly would qualify as "evil", if anything?

Re:Question for Brin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503495)

Well, we could Google Bomb "democracy" to "goatse" and then you'd be thanking them for the cencorship. Just a thought.

Re:Question for Brin (3, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503568)

. . .what exactly would qualify as "evil", if anything?

Falling stock prices.

KFG

Re:Question for Brin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504024)

Google can't do everything. They can't just uncensor their China sites and give full access to Chinese citizens, since they'd just be blocked entirely. This isn't an argument between censoring "democracy" and not censoring at all. It's between censoring "democracy" and getting COMPLETELY censored. I personally feel providing some information is better than providing none. It's not like Google is actively producing propaganda for China or something. Both choices would be looked upon unfavorably, so they picked what they believed would be the lesser of two evils (presumably). Also consider, it's easy to say Google operating in China is a bad thing if you're not in China. If you were living in China right now, though, would you rather go to Google.com and find nothing, or find a usable search engine that says "this is censored by your government" when you get results back?

Re:Question for Brin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504172)

Also consider, it's easy to say Google operating in China is a bad thing if you're not in China. If you were living in China right now, though, would you rather go to Google.com and find nothing, or find a usable search engine that says "this is censored by your government" when you get results back?

In other words, by providing *no* search results they would upset the populace ... and Google wouldn't want to do that. Not when the authoritarian government asked them not to!

Keeping the masses happy is more important than providing access to information? Nope, that's not evil...

A non-evil out (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504203)

Why don't google release a google desktop that subverts the chinese firewall and routes data indirectly to their US servers.

I'm sure google have the resources and technical know-how to pull this off, and they have the market clout that they could actually get the application widely proliferated. That would fulfil the goal of developing google in China and at the same time actively work against the Chinese censorship policies.

If half the net users in China have an encrypting tool installed that bypasses the firewall then the authorities will struggle to do anything to them. The real political dissidents will be able to hide among the people who want to download foreign crap.

Re:A non-evil out (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504324)

Why don't google release a google desktop that subverts the chinese firewall and routes data indirectly to their US servers.
They'd be blocked. And if they're blocked, most of the population won't be able to get to them without using some sort of circumvention tool anyways.

I'm sure google have the resources and technical know-how to pull this off, and they have the market clout that they could actually get the application widely proliferated.
Of course they could develop it. But they don't have as much of an affect on the general population as you seem to be thinking.

That would fulfil the goal of developing google in China and at the same time actively work against the Chinese censorship policies.
Yes. If they could pull it off. But that is not their job, and China would be pissed off. And when China is mad, our government will tell google to back off.

If half the net users in China have an encrypting tool installed that bypasses the firewall then the authorities will struggle to do anything to them. The real political dissidents will be able to hide among the people who want to download foreign crap.
Would you really want to try that yourself? Do you remember what they do with political dissidents over there? They kill them. If everybody gets encryption tools and starts bypassing the firewalls, they'll take a few hints from the RIAA and start picking people at random.

Google does not want to start a civil war. Maybe if one got going some other way, they would help out. But right now, it is best for them to stay out of it.

Famous Last Words (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503385)

Brin: Where is my company's motto? Is she safe? Is she all right?
China: It seems that in your anger, you killed her.
Brin: I... I couldn't have. She was alive. I felt her. Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Re:Famous Last Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503454)

Just interested as a non-native English speaker.
Why do you take "motto" as a feminine noun? Why is it she and not he or it?..

Re:Famous Last Words (1)

Alkrun (960306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503841)

He was stealing/butchering a quote from Star Wars Episode III. In the quote in the movie they're talking about a woman.

Re:Famous Last Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504677)

Thanks. I haven't seen the latest episode. The only famous quote I recall from the Star Wars is the one with the great disturbance in the force.

Re:Famous Last Words (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503856)

What, they don't have Star Wars in your country? Do you live in China? Well, you might be able to Google it. Or maybe not.

Why is everyone amazed? (2, Insightful)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503401)

Google is above all a business. A business is to make money. They stood for American rights when the gov't wanted documents. It seems everyone is forgetting this when the Google China stories creep up. Consider: If you own a business and you open an office in China and you want to make money....will you defy the Chinese gov't? Or will you conform to their laws and policies?

Re:Why is everyone amazed? (2, Interesting)

casings (257363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503502)

So in other words, you're saying they won't compromise their beliefs when there is very little threat of losing money, but they will compromise their beliefs if the chances to lose out on revenue is very high.

The problem with this is that this isn't a "good" principle to live by, it is in fact evil and unethical, but since it seems to be the norm in this day and age, it's understandable to see why some would deem this practice as "ok".

Re:Why is everyone amazed? (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503668)

I'm saying that business is business. They don't just have the belief of "do no evil". They also have the belief to profit. Plus, if they go against China, then how is that "do no evil" if their breaking China's law? I don't agree with China's laws, or all the laws of America for that matter, but until the laws are changed, if you want to do business in those countries then follow the law. It's no different than stores requiring shoes and a shirt. So, would you be upset if they didn't serve you because you're going against their policy?

Re:Why is everyone amazed? (1)

drewsome (944659) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503976)

I (probably) won't get run over by a tank if I try to enter a store without shoes or a shirt.

Unjust laws must be resisted, or they will not be overthrown.

Re:Why is everyone amazed? (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503524)

Google seems to be playing both sides of the fence here. I wouldn't be surprised if the US Government via Google started inserting crapaganda into China. It would be a plus for Google to get a foot in the door and get Chinese revenue since the market is huge, it would also be a plus for the US government to get in via Google (as the US always seems to do - getting a foot in the door), to unload crapaganda contrary to Chinese laws. Wouldn't be the first time. What you see here (Google in China) is nothing more than tip-toeing from Google to save face on all sides.

Re:Why is everyone amazed? (1)

goodminton (825605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503571)

I agree Mike. It boggles me that so many outspoken people have this opinion that Google is coming down from some moral high-ground by doing business in China and following the laws of that country. Google is a for-profit corporation that must follow the laws of the countries they wish to do business with. The people who are upset about this are those who bought into Google's marketing message of "do no evil." Admittedly, Google's leadership panders to this misperception by "admitting mistakes" when they've done nothing of the sort. [Note to Brin, don't say something is a mistake and then keep doing it.] IMO, Google (and any other business for that matter) should be unapologetic about operating in China and following the law.
It's good to be interested in the social situations around the world but let's not have businesses be our moral leaders.

Spineless, not evil? (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503959)

If there is a cost to their beliefs, they won't stand by them.

This should show some the difference between a truly bad regime and the current American government, regarless of your beliefs of whether the American government violated privacy rights.

Re:Why is everyone amazed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504052)

Consider: If you own a business and you open an office in China and you want to make money....will you defy the Chinese gov't? Or will you conform to their laws and policies?

You may be forgetting who you're talking to. This is the same crowd that grew up watching Star Wars -- you know, that movie about the guys who defied the big authoritarian government? We've all read Orwell. The communist Chinese government is the one that committed horrible atrocities against their own people. Remember what they did to Tibet? (Hint: it's not rich republicans who are driving around with "Free Tibet" bumper stickers on their Volkswagens.)

If I could do something that screwed over the current Chinese government in a big way, I would do it in a heartbeat, even if it cost my business some money in the short term. Absolutely.

If I was in charge at Google, I'd tell China "no thanks", and then go back to Mountain View and say "OK guys, the Chinese government is blocking *.google.com. How do we get around this?", e.g., with a P2P system, or serving up our results from other sites, ...

Turning their back? (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503409)

Previous poster mentioned to me that "Don't be evil" and "Making the world a better place" are on their IPO prospectus. One can argue they are currently doing the opposite, hence cheating on share-holders. If fundamental principles are compromised, the end cannot justify the means.

Don't hate (3, Insightful)

inexia (977449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503426)

The first rule of Google - China is that you do not talk about Google - China

I don't blame him for staying in China (2, Interesting)

Cixel Sid (977171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503429)

I don't think Brin has the foresight to think this, but I say, go for it. All the communication and business is going to destroy Chinese control and censorship in a few years anyway. PRofit-driven though they are, they're inadvertantly likely going to destroy censorship. On the other hand, they could be establishing a trend of censorship and further engraining it. But I doubt it.

In other news... (2, Funny)

w33t (978574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503456)

The Chinese are upset that Google continues to do business with the democratic west.

Plain and Simple (3, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503458)

Google is now evil. Censorship, providing access to the secret police so they can find the dissidents, and etc. is as much as breaking their vow of "Don't be evil" as a doctor taking the vow, "First, do no harm," and then providing genocidal services. It is as bad as Dow Chemical providing the means of extermination. But, Google goes in with eyes WIDE OPEN and experience knowing this is what they are doing.

No habla por-favor (1)

Stevecat (198954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503460)

Does this mean that Google's board of directors can neither confirm nor deny the insinuation that they may or may not have never not determined to operate within China but they are sure that they do not understand the question? That makes perfect sense!

-SmR

Planning Ahead (1)

Draracle (977916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503480)

Maybe Google just wants to get a feel for a regulated and censored internet before it comes to the West. [sarcasm]How can they "do no evil" when they allow people to search and find terrorist hate speech? [/sarcasm]

Everyone Shames Google... (4, Insightful)

ZSpade (812879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503498)

But they forget who the real scourge is here. Google is no influence over policy in China, nor could it provide any uncensored searches without risking the lives of those who live there. The Chinese government is to blame here, and no matter how much we badmouth google for abiding by that countries LAWS, it will not change things. Today the people of China are opressed, Tomorrow they will be opressed, and nothing is going to change that. Google would only be depriving the Chinese of a tool by pulling out, not their rights to an uncensored world... no you can thank China for that.

Re:Everyone Shames Google... (2, Insightful)

GotenXiao (863190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503605)

What absolutely amazes me is that in EVERY SINGLE Google China discussion, no one says a dicky bird about MSN China, or Yahoo China, or all these other fucking search engines that have Chinese sites. Why is Google being singled out? because of their "do no evil" policy? Sorry, but I'd consider it more evil to deprive China of Google, even if it is censored.

Which would you prefer, a censored Wikipedia or no Wikipedia? I'd take censored. Something is better than nothing.

Re:Everyone Shames Google... (1)

AEton (654737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504119)

Google would only be depriving the Chinese of a tool by pulling out

Heh heh heh.

It is not Googles responsibility to change China (2, Insightful)

bunions (970377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503499)

And I think it's preposterous to ask them to hew to some sort of Holier-Than-Thou philosophy while the rest of the world rushes to do business with China.

Re:It is not Googles responsibility to change Chin (1)

bsy_at_play (718756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504155)

yes. general consensus is needed for something like the sullivan principles to work.

Just lost a lot of respect for Google (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503545)

Google was a kind of hero. Then they started coming out with a bunch of crap I didn't want to see on computers like MSIE toobars and such. As a Linux user, I tried to ignore it. The stuff exists for Linux too but it's quite possible to ignore it as nothing I install comes with a google add-on leaving me with 100% control over what I install and what I don't.

Then Google's grey area in its dealings with China... then their foreshadowing of some sort of 'decision' on the matter, and now a statement stating that they aren't pulling out of China. They haven't yet assisted in the jailing of free-speech advocates... not yet any way.

Google is still my current default search engine, but only until something more "ideal" comes along.

Sergey Brin is a hypocrite, plain and simple (0)

twfry (266215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503643)

And hypocrites are the worst kind of evil

Re:Sergey Brin is a hypocrite, plain and simple (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503700)

Get a grip. There are many worse personality traits than hypocracy. In fact, I'd be willing to guess that EVEN YOU have been guilty of hypocracy at some point in your life.

Re:Sergey Brin is a hypocrite, plain and simple (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504122)

Get a grip. There are many worse personality traits than hypocracy.
Like being a bad speller.
Or a spelling nazi.

Re:Sergey Brin is a hypocrite, plain and simple (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504234)

the sad thing is, it looked right when I posted it. :(

Hide! (1)

KodeJockey (928302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503652)

In Chinese Google, search engine finds you!

Yes they're staying--and a good thing, too. (5, Insightful)

BaronHethorSamedi (970820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503676)

A few points.

First, as has been rightly pointed out in previous debates on this subject, Google is a publicly-traded American corporation. This means it is under a legal obligation to make business decisions that maximize the value of the stock to its shareholders. Pulling out of the world's largest market, even on a matter of principle, is a poor business judgment decision that would likely result in Google getting sued by the stockholders down the line. If there is "evil" here, U.S. corporate law is as much to blame as anyone.

Second, the Chinese government does not care about the First Amendment. Laudable though it might seem to take a stand and protest Chinese censorship by refusing their business, the Chinese brass would likely respond with the Mandarin equivalent of "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!" The censorship would continue as before, with only Yahoo and MS raking in huge profits for Chinese search traffic (Yahoo having been notably more cooperative with the People's Republic in quashing dissenting voices than Google ever was).

If Google is really concerned about the democratic privileges of the Chinese people (which incidentally, they don't enjoy--however much Americans may find censorship to be reprehensible, China is a different country, and free speech hasn't been established there), sticking around is one of the best things they could do. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Google has always been available in China--as Google.com. Google.cn just makes it more language- and user-friendly for the Chinese consumer. Additionally, every time the Chinese engine returns censored results, isn't there a note to the effect that the document has been redacted? This would seem, in my mind, to contribute to a heightened public awareness in China as to just how pervasive the censorship regime is. This will in turn spawn more, not less, dissent, tending more towards democratic reform in the long term.

What do the people of China really gain if Google shuts down? Even redacted information, if freely available, is far better than none if we want to motivate reform. If Google pulled out, it would lose business, subject itself to legal liability, and change nothing in China in the long term. By staying, it allows the Chinese one more tool (however controlled) for obtaining and disseminating information. No barrier is as porous as one that tries to limit the flow of information; the Great Firewall can't last forever. Maybe Google can help pull it down--but not if they leave.

Re:Yes they're staying--and a good thing, too. (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503912)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Google has always been available in China--as Google.com. Google.cn just makes it more language- and user-friendly for the Chinese consumer.

You are correct. Although the creation of google.cn was not only for language barrier breaking purposes. Thanks to the great firewall of China, google.com was often incredebly slow or inaccesible most of the time. Plus it was still censored, but in ways google couldn't control or even determine.

Re:Yes they're staying--and a good thing, too. (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504000)

First, as has been rightly pointed out in previous debates on this subject, Google is a publicly-traded American corporation. This means it is under a legal obligation to make business decisions that maximize the value of the stock to its shareholders.

No. Google is obligated by law to behave in a manner dictated to it by its voting shareholders. While this most often is "make money" it doesn't have to be so. Since Sergey and Larry own 66.2% of the voting stock, they can do whatever they feel like, without being sued.

Pulling out of the world's largest market, even on a matter of principle, is a poor business judgment decision that would likely result in Google getting sued by the stockholders down the line.

If you could sue a company for not profiting, the stock market wouldn't work. You sue when a company directly ignores or acts in direct opposition to the directives given to it by the voting shareholders. Bad business decisions are not one of those things.

Additionally, every time the Chinese engine returns censored results, isn't there a note to the effect that the document has been redacted? This would seem, in my mind, to contribute to a heightened public awareness in China as to just how pervasive the censorship regime is. This will in turn spawn more, not less, dissent, tending more towards democratic reform in the long term.

You assume the Chinese have no clue they are being oppressed. Come on. These people are fully aware of how fucked up things are in their country. A little tag on Google results is not going to motivate shit. Google's presence isn't going to change a thing. All it is going ot do is make the largest Internet userbase in the world available for marketing the shit they just made back to them.

No, it's a bad thing (1)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504043)

> Google is a publicly-traded American corporation. This means it is under a legal obligation to make business decisions that maximize the value of the stock to its shareholders.

Not so. It is obliged to act in the interest of its shareholders, but 1) the law leave a lot of wiggle room when interpreting the common interest of the shareholders and 2) I'm sure there are shareholders that think 'do no evil' is a standard that should be upheld.

> with only Yahoo and MS raking in huge profits for Chinese search traffic (Yahoo having been notably more cooperative with the People's Republic in quashing dissenting voices than Google ever was).

First, in what way has Google not been cooperative. Second, "everyone else does it" is a poor excuse for kids even. People, companies and countries are doing whatever they can get away with, that doesn't mean it's right and that they shouldn't be criticized for it.

> Correct me if I'm wrong, but Google has always been available in China--as Google.com. Google.cn just makes it more language- and user-friendly for the Chinese consumer.

Google.com has been banned altogether.

> Additionally, every time the Chinese engine returns censored results, isn't there a note to the effect that the document has been redacted? This would seem, in my mind, to contribute to a heightened public awareness in China as to just how pervasive the censorship regime is. This will in turn spawn more, not less, dissent, tending more towards democratic reform in the long term.

True, although one must wonder whether the gov't is notified with IP:s and such of the searching persons. I hope not.

Re:Yes they're staying--and a good thing, too. (4, Insightful)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504089)

First, as has been rightly pointed out in previous debates on this subject[Google is]...under a legal obligation to make business decisions that maximize the value of the stock to its shareholders.
As others have pointed out, they are under the stockholder wishes. Few public companies have a block which controls more than %50 of the votes, but the Google founders still do.

I believe that they are right to deal with China. However, I am also happy that they are getting some hell for it, as the debate is valuable.

Re:Yes they're staying--and a good thing, too. (1)

drewsome (944659) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504114)

What do the people of China really gain if Google shuts down?

I believe much the same things were said about Coca-Cola and South Africa before divestment -- a series of actions which helped to bring down the apartheid government there.

Just a thought.

Re:Yes they're staying--and a good thing, too. (1)

Kuvagh (947832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504141)

"This means it is under a legal obligation to make business decisions that maximize the value of the stock to its shareholders." A couple of people have already retorted this statement, but I'd just like to mention that I hear this pretty often. As long as this is a popularly held view, we'll have an awful lot of ends-justify-the-means syndrome. I wonder about how many business students snicker during their ethics classes and how many simply have their ethics broken by the pressure of the greed of thousands.

Re:Yes they're staying--and a good thing, too. (3, Insightful)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504224)

Additionally, every time the Chinese engine returns censored results, isn't there a note to the effect that the document has been redacted? This would seem, in my mind, to contribute to a heightened public awareness in China as to just how pervasive the censorship regime is. This will in turn spawn more, not less, dissent, tending more towards democratic reform in the long term.

And on the other side, Google seems to be doing a very good job in getting people outside China to talk about Chinese censorship and the like. Whether you agree or disagree with Google's actions, they're definitely raising awareness of who they're dealing with.

Odds are You are worse then google. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503701)

so many god damn hypocrites here. ohh google is making money in china! burn them! while i type this out on my made in china keyboard, attached to my made in china computer, wearing my made in china whatever the hell while listening to shit spewing from my made in china stero, paid for by supporting made in china equipment.

You think you're so noble trying to flame google over this. while you whisle dixie chicks songs and shop in wallmart.

"I really hoped they would be a good company"... so that somehow I could justify my missdeeds by saying hey I bought stock in google.

Just what the hell have you done to help the general populance of china today?

Anything? Ever? no? then shut the hell up.

Re:Odds are You are worse then google. (1)

slyborg (524607) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504444)

The difference is that I didn't go around saying that I am better than others beforehand. If Google had a motto that said "Don't Be Poor" there would be no issue with their China policy. So Google should drop that whole patronizing shtick now that they are The Man and adopt a new motto like "Don't Be A Sucka" or "Don't Hate The Playas" or "Don't Block Our Ads", or "Don't Mind Us, We're Just Trying To Make A Buck".

That whole 'Don't Be Evil' thing was so pre-IPO. As a public company, Google will get more and more like every other large international corporation very rapidly. In five years they will operate no differently than any of their peers. I mean, they have Denny Hastert's son as a paid lobbyist in DC. Just waiting for the big RNC contribution (and slightly smaller DNC) campaign contribution in the fall congressional race.

http://government.zdnet.com/?p=2129 [zdnet.com]

P.S. The dixie chicks thing didn't make any damn sense.

Re:Odds are You are worse then google. (1)

dourk (60585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504589)

god damn I wish I could mod you up.

Re:Odds are You are worse then google. (1)

puppetman (131489) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504592)

So you're the reason for 2.5% growth in the US trade deficit... [bbc.co.uk] ...

"the US also imported more goods from China, leading to an increased deficit of $17bn with that country alone."

I love it (1)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503743)

I love how we all see censorship as bad, and because Google is taking part in censorship we blame Google. We make no effort to blame the CHINESE GOVERNMENT for requiring that kind of censorship. Google does not exist to fight political battles over freedoms of people in China (although they do have a history of expanding into surprising new markets, I somehow feel that political picketing is not the next one).

Summary: HELLO, Google is not the one censoring the chinese people, CHINA is the one censoring them, Google is just doing what they are told by the government in the country they are operating in. Google may be all-powerful, but I don't think they are in a position to start a war against china by breaking their laws and standing by that treason.

Give them a break... (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503782)

They seriously wrestled over this issue... On a big pile of money... with the cute girls the Chinese government sent over.

Who can blame them for this decision? sheesh

Or as a friend said "They're still abiding by the core company philosophy if by 'good' you mean a huge pile of money.. and 'evil' being a smaller pile of money. They are doing no evil"

The ability to simply redefine for yourself what words mean to make youself into an angel, Bill Clinton would be proud :)

Which Option would you go with? (1)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503823)

When your alternatives are to let the Chinese filter Google for you (making your search engine slow and unusable, and hiding that results are filtered) or filter it yourself (so people actually use your search engine, and tell people you are censoring data), what would you do? If Google walks away from China, the Chinese don't benefit- all that means that they need to use Bandu or Yahoo! search engines (which aren't open about the censorship like Google is, and help the government track and jail people). If I was Chinese I'd rather have Google.cn than use something I know is tracking all my seraches and giving the information to the Chinese Government.

big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503893)

nice toknow that everyone is so concerned about china. dont you guys have no problems in life?

Re:big deal (0)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503908)

If you're going to make a commment like that, at least have the balls to NOT post as Anonymous Coward.

Quoth the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15503907)

Brin told a small group of invited journalists: 'I think it's perfectly reasonable to do something different....'
So what about rolling my shit up into little balls and eating them? That's different, right? Would that not be perfectly reasonable then?

In other words (1)

d_54321 (446966) | more than 8 years ago | (#15503961)

Brin told a small group of handpicked journalists selected because they wouldn't trash them for this bullshit decision: 'I think it's perfectly reasonable to aid a communist country in their fight to squash any dissent of the people. Say, OK, let's not be hypocritcal asshats... That's an alternative path. It's not the one we've chosen to take right now. I mean, cmon, is anyone is gonna use Google any less because of this? Shyeah right!'

The "Do No Evil" theme is too susceptible to... (2, Insightful)

GoldTeamRules (639624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504103)

...people passing judgement about every action Google makes. Obeying laws of the countries you are doing business in can certainly be defended as an honorable way to live the mantra "Do No Evil".

It is not the responsibility of Google to be a vehicle for political influence.

I think what Google is trying to accomplish with this theme is to state that they want to compete fairly (albeit, agressively and relentlessly) in any markets they choose to compete in. And, that they want to offer a product to customers that provides value.

Obviously, you can read anything you'd like into a simple statement such as "Do No Evil", but I think Slashdot spends way to much time analyzing every decision Google makes.

Do no evil, unless it makes money. (1)

mpcooke3 (306161) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504246)

Other slogans I could have suggested for companies at one time or other:

"The network is the computer, or possibly thats the PC" - SUN
"Invent or Copy" -HP
"Innovating for a Safer World, Fly Concorde" - BAE
"Good Food. Good Life. Kill Babies." - Nestle

"Beyond Petroleum" - BP
(unmodified, i just want to see it again because it's so hilarious)

Yahoo is less evil than Google (2, Funny)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504298)

They are equally "evil", except that Google claims in their company motto they are not, which adds to the evilness. It is like MS having as a compay motto: "Open source - Lovin' it".

Stupid? (1)

C_Insano (888612) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504434)

Where's the "stupid" tag that's on all other stories?

If you hate china so much... (1)

askreet (816784) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504497)

Cmon' people -- if you don't like how china does things stop buying their products. You're supporting the chinese government every time you buy *anything*. :)
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