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Google and China: What Happened to "Don't Be Evil?"

Marketwatch's Bambi Francisco takes a look at Google's decision to cooperate with the Chinese government in censoring its results and adding a Chinese domain name. Francisco calls the move--which will definitely grow Google's search penetration in China--"ironic," given Google's mantra "don't be evil" and its mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Lest we forget, less than two years ago Google Inc.'s co-founders were bandying about anti-corporate culture maxims pledging that they would "resist the temptation to make small sacrifices to increase shareholder value." Well, it would seem this move is all about sacrificing the company's integrity to boost shareholder value. Although Chinese users will have the option of continuing to search via the U.S.-based Web site, it's expected most of their search queries will now go through China-based servers. All queries coming from Google's U.S. servers are filtered by the country's biggest banks on behalf of Beijing. These banks keep users from receiving content the country deems unacceptable, such as pornography and anti-government sentiment on the following issues: the Tiananmen Square massacre, Tibet, Taiwan or the persecuted Falun Gong. It seems that Google has begrudgingly agreed to filter its results for China, as the search engine has explicitly said that not to work in China would be a much larger error a decade from now. Is this an ironic move by a company with an essentially democratic message and mission statement? Again, it would seem so, especially following Google's decision last week to resist a subpoena from the U.S. Dept of Justice for user search data




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