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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Google.cn: The Filtered Formula for Freedom


When you read the negative responses to Google.cn that are now even coming from Congress, many wonder how Google could make such a terrible decision to offer a search that is filtered by political sensitivities.

But is this such a terrible decision? A fifth of the world's population resides in China and if they only get a selective search that is better than no search.

In Google's response to the criticism that has come from all quarters, they make mention that they are in this for the long haul. And in offering a search, an abet filtered search, will put Google in a good position to gain a significant market share of China's internet users.

Now for a moment, lets take a look through a telescope into the future. You will have millions of Chinese users of the internet who will be becoming increasingly aware of the fact that their news is censored. In fact with each search, they will be told some content has been withheld. A quest for knowledge is a human attribute that in the long run cannot be held back.

And the result of this is so predictable, even if left unsaid by Google. There will be a backlash in China. People will want and demand unfiltered news. And like the Berlin Wall being torn down, the people will tear down the wall censorship. And if the Government gets in their way, the Government will be torn down also.

Now, imagine for a moment you are in China and using the internet and you see your search being censored. I do not put it past the Chinese user that they will find a backdoor that will show them the results they are missing. And what a great way to inform the average Chinese Joe that he lives under repression.

To see an example of how Google.cn will filter results go here.

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