It was with great disappointment and a heavy heart that we heard that Google had compromised their search results in China, excluding results the Chinese government didn’t find acceptable. In effect becoming the government’s censor.
Why would a company whose strap-line was Don’t be Evil do this? The draw of the potential of huge amounts of income in the future has to figure large. The business logic being, if you’re not in China (they’ve been blocked by the Chinese for years), your global future looks less assured.
We suspect that the public reaction around the world, won’t be quite as accepting, as was signaled in the Radio 4’s business interview this morning with Google‘s Senior Policy Counsel, Andrew McLaughlin.
McLaughlin’s attempt to draw parallels between the censorships that they’re required to carry out in Germany for terms around the Nazi’s and their actions in China were slapped down by Greg Wood, the interviewer.
“The situation is different in those countries, because the users of your Web services in countries like Germany, also have some influence in drafting the laws that ban access to Nazi-realted sites, and that’s not the case in China – is It?
McLaughlin’s tell us that they’ve taken a year to develop the idea. We suspect a good deal of that time has been spent trying to figure out how to sell this terrible compromise to their current customers/believers.
We feel this single action has marked the start of the end of the Google-fanatics relationship with the company.
It’s not that we think that people will stop searching on Google, it’s just that they won’t trust Google implicitly any more
Importantly, we feel that if another company came along offering a similar service – which isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility – current Google users will feel a lot less concerned about making the switch.
It’s not like people haven’t change search engines before – remember when nothing but AltaVista existed for search?
It appears that Google now feel that they are so vital to the world that they can act against the wishes of the vast majority of their users. We can’t help but to draw strong parallels to many Western governments of late.
We hate to burst your bubble Google, but the reality is that the World could live with a similar service, and not notice the loss of Google.
Those who don’t like what Google has done, and really want to change their mind have an easy means at their disposal – take away their income.
Where Google would really start to suffer is by Web sites removing their Google TextAds from their sites – and bloggers seem like an ideal start for this.
After all, from their China/censorship actions, it’s clear that Google’s really driven by income. Added to this, we also know that Google isn’t primarily a search engine company, it’s an advertising company. Removing their adverts means to removing their income.