• duncan_m

    Good post, could mean a very quick changing landscape for Chinese search..

  • http://www.no1onsports.com no1onsports

    i dont think they really want to leave from China but for sure they want to add more pressure over there. I feel this story will go on for a while…

    however i just remembered what one of my friend told me recently…. Google starts to use a lot of offensive tactics as they try to expand…they are on the attack towards everybody….iphone windows…china?..: :)

  • blibby

    One must be careful when doing simple side-by-side comparisons, as was done with the ‘tiananmen’ query above.

    It is understandable that the same query would not give the same results on google.com as on google.cn, since ‘tiananmen’ means different things to Western and Chinese audiences. For some, ‘tiananmen’ refers solely to the pro-democracy protests that happened there in the summer of 1989. To others, the concept of ‘tiananmen’ (which is not the same as ‘tiananmen square’) encompasses an incredibly rich history spanning nearly 600 years – being just in the past century the site of the May 4th Movement, the annual National Day parades and the place where the People’s Republic was founded in 1949.

    I’m not saying that Google doesn’t filter its image results within China – in fact, it certainly does. I’m only saying that a side-by-side comparison of a single search query is not de facto evidence of this filtering.

    Nevertheless, this was a great blog post with an incredible number of excellent links. It will be very interesting to see how long the government of China (and Iran, and Cuba, and others) are able to maintain policies of strict information control in a world of increasingly fluid communications.

    I’d really recommend that anyone who has the time watch Clay Shirkey’s presentation on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_iN_QubRs0) concerning this very important issue which affects ~1/5 of the world’s population.

  • googlefan

    Does Google use IP based blocking in China or just blocking of the search engine? I am in Germany right now, so I tried your search sample, and I saw the message when I used the German version, but it did not show up when I search on Google.com. Can Chinese people access Google.com? Do Tiananmen square results show up in that case or they blocked from people accessing it from Chinese IPs? Because if not, the block would seem pretty ineffective, since people could just go to Google.com

  • http://www.vilic.info Vilic

    Well done! As I am a Chinese, I really hate the things done by GFW. Keep your pace Google, you are the leader of the new cyber!

  • xtay573269555

    I am a Chinese in China Mainland.I register in this website specially for sharing my opinion.Google.cn will shut down if Google really want to operate an unfiltered search engine within the law as it said . The Chinese Communist Party can’t bear any organizition to spread anything that may threat to its rule. GFW is the most typical example .
    Goodbye ,Google.cn. I will use google.com instead ,even though I must use some special software to access to the limited websites.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    no1onsports this would be the wrong pressure. Chinese people are just as patriotic as those in other countries. An American company telling the Chinese government how it wants things done probably won’t go over with the average consumer any better than a Chinese company trying to tell an American government how to do things, regardless of the core issues involved.

    Blibby, I understand how difficult the side-by-sides are, especially if you are outside the country and not even searching in Chinese. But that’s an easy way to show a key difference happening. If you look at the actual search page, at the bottom, there’s an explicit disclosure that some image results have been removed.

    Googlefan, to my understanding, Google may do IP detection in addition to just filtering stuff based on the country edition that you use.

  • http://www.googleandblog.com/ Michael Martin


    I think you addressed extremely well in the 3rd postscript the counterpoint to the knee jerk reaction I and others had to Google’s real underlying reason with the China statement – that it was a face saving move vs declaring its defeat against Baidu.

    TechCrunch is already echoing that reaction http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/12/google’s-china-stance-more-about-business-than-thwarting-evil/ and assumably others will tomorrow without getting your insightful reasoning against that claim.

    Glad u \dropped some knowledge\ before I joined those masses ;)

    ,Michael Martin

  • karodisi

    It’s a pity if Google.cn would end their service in China. Baidu, however, is the dominant player of China serach market, its structure of custom is different with Google. It seems that more skillful users intend to use Google instead of Baidu. Your side-by-sides example expresses the envirment in there. Internet is always a place based on equitable and transparent. I wish Google would provide more products that could influence those place \at the edge of the world\.

  • elorant

    The American way of doing business. If everything else fails try an elaborate blackmail. Well that’s not gonna fly in China.

  • http://twitter.com/fitzmangubat fitzmangubat

    Insightful post. I think you get to the point of Google’s priorities in the 3rd PS; Google must defend itself and its core assets, even if it means missing opportunities by exiting a lucrative yet restricted market.

  • Haley Chang

    Actually I doubt Google do IP filter, since I live in mainland China and I can still access to those tiananmen pictures if I use Google.com instead of Google.cn. (for the record, we Chinese people search in Chinese instead of pinyin, and under such circumstances the results are alike on both Google.com and Google.cn.) So if Google really pull out from China it will be a shame but it won’t cause too much harm for Chinese Google users, since a good portion of Chinese people who are aware of the censorship in Google.cn use Google.com already.

    And if you think Google’s move is a wrong pressure because Chinese people will side with the government you’re wrong. Chinese people are patriotic, but we (who are rational and not brainwashed) disapprove the government’s certain policies, like the censorship. Actually, we resent it and we do everything we can to fight it. And we totally support Google, as you can see in the picture – people even send flowers to show respect.

    Nevertheless I’m not questioning your opinion or anything, just clarifying some situations here in China. I admire your article for its great insights and thorough analysis of this event.

  • http://devilsworkshop.org/ vick717

    Finally google proves that ethics are way more important than minting money. This will definitly spark up the human right activist in China as well as around the world. CIIRC will now have something to think over.

    I agree with “no1onsports” about gooogle’s offensive tactics. i was wondering whether this time it will work or not.

  • http://colemanjolley.com/wp colejolley

    There’s a big disconnect here. Why does hacking a network create a response of “fine, we’ll just stop censoring then”? It wasn’t so awful at the beginning that they refused to do it. So why now? Because someone’s email got accessed? Because someone is putting code into source to do it? This stuff goes on all the time, and there’s a small industry of software to check source for it.

    I can’t help but think that Google management felt they needed something to help them compete in a search market where they were losing, and surely they felt strongly about their IP being unfettered.

    I think the observation about Kai-Fu Lee leaving in September and his feelings that G would never dominate that market are telling. There’s more to this than simple engineering pride.