You’ve probably heard a lot about Google in the last few days. The company was all over the media because of two important issues.
The first one had something to do with their profits, and experts’ expectations of those profits. That’s all very boring unless, of course, you are a shareholder. Which I am not. So I’ll just ignore that one for now.
The second one is a bit more catchy. It’s the rise of an old question – “What happens if Google will go evil?”. Google has access to such much information that it can easily change lives of so many people both to the good and to the bad. And I am not only talking about all that information that is so easily found with Google’s search engine. Just in case you forgot or never knew – Google knows who is looking for what, where are you coming from, which languages you can read, and what browser do you use. It has also a pretty good idea about websites that you visit – which ones and how often (by means of Google advertising and Google web statistics). If you use Google Mail, they know a lot more about you, than you probably do about yourself. And so forth.
Until now though Google was pretty descent in most its politics. But a few days ago they did something in China that many people saw as an evil act.
The thing with China is that it is still a very much controlled state. There are things like government firewalls that prevent people from accessing all sorts of resources – from pornographic to political. There is a lot of censorship – who can say what and when, etc. That’s on one hand. On the other – more than a billion people. In English that means – a huge market.
So there is no surprise that everyone and anyone are trying to get their hand on China. Doing so though requires a lot of manouvering around Chinese government and its existing policies. And here is where Google came to light recently. Instead of supporting free speech and other democratic civil rights, they agreed to do a lot of filtering on the results they provide for certain keywords.
How bad is it? Well, consider an example. Bad. Very bad.
Why should you care? I don’t know. You decide for yourself.