Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, January 29, 2007

Google Admits "Being Evil"

The famous Google motto -- "Don't be evil" -- got tarnished in China, one of the company's founders admitted ... finally.

The global reaction to Google's decision to build political censorship into its Chinese search engine, as demanded by the Communist Chinese government, was sharp and resoundingly negative.

Speaking in Davos yesterday, co-founder Sergey Brin (on the right in the photo) finally admitted the obvious, saying:
"On a business level, that decision to censor... was a net negative."
Translation: Damage to the Google reputation and a significant resultant loss of business outweighed all the money Google is getting out of China. And that's a lot of revenue.

Still, apparently being evil has its advantages and Google is not considering any changes to its China business:
From what was said yesterday a policy change seemed unlikely in the near future. Co-founder Larry Page (on the left in the photo) said: "We always consider what to do. But I don't think we as a company should be making decisions based on too much perception."
Hmmm. Can there ever be too much perception? What kind of perception is OK with not being evil and what kind of perception is across the line?

So, despite admitting the errors of its way, Google will keep on erring, and Chinese googlers still will not be able to find anything about the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Falun Gong movement -- or presumably, this entire controversy -- on their browsers.

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