It almost seems poetic that Google – considered to be a global worldwide giant of a corporation involved with nearly every aspect of our online lives – would butt heads with the world’s new leading superpower.
Google’s decision back in 2006 to play by the Chinese government’s rules and apply censorship to Google.cn was heavily criticized at the time. Google justified it by saying “the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results”.
Well, what do you know, China may have let Google get a hold in its fast emerging online arena, but the leopard has not changed its spots one bit. Looks like the Chinese government had no qualms in launching a full 0ut digital attack on Google’s servers in an effort to hunt down Chinese human rights activists using Gmail accounts.
So now Google has decided to stop censoring search results on Google.cn, which they admit will probably mean shutting down Google.cn and moving out of the Chinese market altogether.
The implications are huge. Here are just a few that come to mind -
- Google may be walking out of what might be the largest online market in the future.
- Chinese people may be even further cut off from the main Internet hubs. That means online marketers will not have as good an access to this market and Chinese webmasters will be even more limited in their operations outside of China.
- Google may regain some of the credibility they lost over surrendering to the Chinese government’s demands in the first place.
- Gmail has proved to be a secure service. Only two accounts are said to have been hacked into by means other than phishing and malware installments. This is about much more than email security – our Gmail logins are now used for so many services it can be scary.