I would really like to know what you think. As most of you know, Google prides itself in the motto "Do no evil", but how well have they been sticking to their guns? The last week has been interesting due to a couple headlines that put good and evil on a balance.
The first had to do with a government subpoena requesting information from Google's database, I am convinced that they have good intentions. but was denied. Even though Google did the right thing by respecting the privacy of it's users and denying the government this information, the press got the whole story behind the request completely wrong. Articles published as recent as today still reference "child pornography" instead of the real reason -- to find out how much porn children in the US are exposed to on the internet. Asking for this information is ridiculous and pointless, but Google was the only search engine to spot that and stand up for what is right.
The second headline which users are weighing more towards "evil" is their self censorship in China. Many users have spoken out against this action -- some even going as far as boycotting the AdSense program on their blogs.
China is a country with its own laws. Unfortunately their government chooses to deny it's citizens the right to free speech -- it's not for Google to give users this freedom. Voluntarily censoring their own search results puts them in the position to build a strong relationship with China and maybe one day provide even more services (which would be "good", not "evil").
A simple example can put this into perspective. Imagine an online retailer based in Amsterdam who sells a variety of things including marijuana legally, who is considering expanding into the US. If they decide to expand their services, they would need to respect laws and "censor" items illegal in the US, or face serious problems. Granted, curtailing rights to free speech and anti-drug laws are not exactly parallel.
is Google turning evil? or are they just making steps toward being "good" in China? I am convinced that they have good intentions, and this is only a small first step in that direction.