Google's move is brilliant simply because it might be the only one that can pull it off.
Where Chinese people do not simply have a nationalist, defensive backlash (e.g. Carrefour), but pause to consider and ask themselves, "What is happening? Why is this happening? Why would Google take such an action."
They love Google. I think they might possibly love Google -- or at least admire it, for its innovation, business acumen, but also general sense of public decency, more than they love the government.
Google is, for once, an unquestionable good. It's not a country, a sovereign government, a greedy, rapacious, imperialistic foreign corporation bent on exploiting the China market for profit. It's a group of engineers, creative, inspired and innovative, who just want to do good for the world by expanding the availability of information.
And I think that vision of Google inspires a lot of people, including students and Netizens in China.
I know a lot of this is the Silicon Valley part of me speaking. But I am animated by the culture of this place where I grew up, and even though I sometimes still wonder about the impact and ability of technology to be relevant in people's lives, I still believe in its ability to bring improvement.
More analysis from CNET to come ...