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Google May Stop Web Search in China

google-china-search-logoAs you may have already heard by now, Google has recently wrote in their blog that they are going to take a new approach to serve their customers in China. This new approach is nothing but to be ‘open’ as google has always been in every other country (except for china) and stop all censorship for the chinese government.

So what made Google change their strategy in a huge market like China? Did the Chinese government stepped on their tail? Well yes, apparently it looks like Google is blaming (sort of) the Chinese government for being involved in a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack” on their corporate infrastructure that occurred last month. The attack originated in China and resulted in the “theft of intellectual property from Google.”

Chief Legal Officer David Drummond cites in the blog post that recent attacks on the Gmail accounts of human rights activists in both China, the United States and Europe as driving the decision. “These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered—combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web—have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China,” he says. Drummond goes on to say that Google will no longer censor its search results in China and will therefore discuss with the Chinese government whether it can operate an “unfiltered search engine within the law.” That’s unlikely, and Drummond says “this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.”

Some key points to look into:

  • This attack was done to Google alone, but also 20 other large companies
  • The primary objective of this attack was to get the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.
  • The attack also focused on U.S., China and Europe-based Gmail accounts that supported human rights in China.
  • Google is way public about this attack and its reaction to them. This isn’t very google-like.
  • Google says it won’t continue to censor search results and may just shut down operations in China. This is like saying I don’t want that $600 million dollars!

In the end Google writes:

The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.

On the other hand, China’s biggest search engine (Baidu) was hacked this morning by the the same Iranian Cyber Army that hacked twitter before. According to Barry Schwartz of SEL, the site was down for about four hours and also has a screenshot of the page.


I just noticed that google is also showing this add when you search for Google china and related terms:


What others are saying:

Google’s China Stance: More about Business than Thwarting Evil – Techcrunch

HUGE: Google Considers Pulling Out of China in the Name of Free Speech – Mashable

Check out techmeme as they are all over this and has citied at least 30 different sources.

The push and pull of China – Scoboleizer

Assessing Google’s showdown with China: Does it make sense? – ZDnet

Google May Shut Down Operations In China – Paidcontent.org

Google’s China Exposure: ~$600 Million In Sales This Year, Lots Of Future Growth – Silicon Alley Insider

Statement on Google Operations in China – US Department of State

Google ‘may pull out of China after Gmail cyber attack’ – BBC News

Google Warns of China Exit Over Hacking – The Wall Street Journal

Google Just Says No To China: Ending Censorship, Due To Gmail Attack – Search Engine Land

Google puts its foot down – Rebecca MacKinnon

It’s Not Google that’s Withdrawing from China; It’s China that’s Withdrawing from the World – China Digital Times

or simply follow techmeme for all the sources!

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So, what do you think ?