Google Responds to Google News China Controversy
Recently Google, in the own words, explained their position on operating in China and their censorship of certain news stories on the Chinese version of Google News. Google News has also been looked into in the United States because of political bias reports. Some people seem to think that the Google News algorithm is serving better political play and supportive articles for George W. Bush on searches for “Bush” than they do for John Kerry on searches for well, “Kerry.” While the US version of Google News is giving results from all sorts of different news services, Google News China is practicing true censorship by excluding non-Government approved (non PRC) news resources.
Coming under fire from various blogs, free speech activists, and non-censored news channels, Google responded yesterday on their own Google Blog:
There has been controversy about our new Google News China edition, specifically regarding which news sources we include. For users inside the People’s Republic of China, we have chosen not to include sources that are inaccessible from within that country.
This was a difficult decision for Google, and we would like to share the factors we considered before taking this course of action.
Although Google News China does not include non-PRC news for those within the People’s Republic of China, Google does however offer non-PRC approved websites for Chinese web searchers on its Google China search engine. Google remarks:
For Internet users in China, Google remains the only major search engine that does not censor any web pages. However, it’s clear that search results deemed to be sensitive for political or other reasons are inaccessible within China.
What does this mean? A searcher in Beijing looking for Falun information may see the search results in Google, and perhaps even a Google cached page, but Chinese government blocks prevent searchers from directly accessing those sites.
More from the Google Blog on their Google News China development and difficult choices:
For last week’s launch of the Chinese-language edition of Google News, we had to decide whether sources that cannot be viewed in China should be included for Google News users inside the PRC. Naturally, we want to present as broad a range of news sources as possible. For every edition of Google News, in every language, we attempt to select news sources without regard to political viewpoint or ideology. For Internet users in China, we had to consider the fact that some sources are entirely blocked. Leaving aside the politics, that presents us with a serious user experience problem. Google News does not show news stories, but rather links to news stories. So links to stories published by blocked news sources would not work for users inside the PRC — if they clicked on a headline from a blocked source, they would get an error page.