Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Google! And the Silicon Valley ethos

Wow, just absolutely, wow. Google's "new approach to China" must be lighting up the blogosphere around the whole world.

Here is Google's blog announcement that it will uncensor its search results in China, following hacking attempts against its Gmail servers that attempted gain access to information and correspondence of Chinese human rights activists.

This is a real statement. When one of the world's most brilliant, most creative, and most widely admired companies -- one that embodies innovation and entrepreneurship -- says, "It's not okay for us to operate here in China. These conditions are no longer acceptable to us." Well, that's a real signal. "We are no longer going to sacrifice our ethics for access to this China market. Profits are not everything. We are going to take a stand."

P.S. For those bemoaning the loss of service, Google is perfectly willing to operate in China. It's really in the Chinese government's court now. Do you want to deprive 1/3 of your internet users of their main search engine and all of Google's services? Or are you willing to allow Google to live up to its core ideals as an Internet company? Its information-sharing ethos and commitment to unfettered exchange and open access?

P.P.S. Do you know how bad it looks when the embodiment of Silicon Valley, the hub of innovation and creativity and freedom that you are trying to replicate, decides to get out because it no longer wants to countenance the human rights abuses, the censorship, and the threat posed to its users' security?

Honestly, I don't know if Google just feels its presence is no longer helping more than it is hurting. Of course there are considerations of market share. But Google is really up in arms about this whole security threat. Maybe it doesn't want to put Chinese users at risk by providing what one would hope is a secure environment, but can't live up to that billing because of government intervention.

In any case, Google is finally standing up for something. "Don't be evil" indeed.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-approach-to-china.html

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