Google's shifting moral ground

Summary:Google's decision to censor results for its China search site has the blogosphere and beyond buzzing. Google's officials justified the decision in saying the getting access to the restricted, limited content is better than nothing.

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Google's decision to censor results for its China search site has the blogosphere and beyond buzzing. Google's officials justified the decision in saying the getting access to the restricted, limited content is better than nothing. Bambi Francisco of MarketWatch attributes Google's decision to bend to China's will--and violate its do no evil policy--to the money machine:

As for me, I can't imagine that limited information is better than no information. The consequences are mind boggling. Google might be complicit in leaving out the facts that make up history. Then what happens when China rules the world? History will change as we know it. A clever friend once said to me: "If China ruled the world, history as we know it today would be rewritten from an Asian perspective."

Maybe China's riches are worth it. I don't think so. But when you've tasted billions -- like Brin and Page -- I guess you can hire a boatload of attorneys to justify any choices you make.

Bottom line: Google would rather compete Baidu and other search portals trying to claim the 100 million and growing number of Internet users in China than stand on the higher moral ground it set up for itself. According to Sun Tzu's Art of War, "The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success."

The moral ground in the global economic environment is shifting under Google's feet, but shareholders aren't going to complain. What goes on in China, stays in China. To Google's credit, it is foregoing its email and blogging services, which would risk exposing personal data to Chinese authorities, which is ironic considering Google's rejection of the DOJ's subpeona for search logs. See also Phil Lenssen.

Topics: China

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