Xoogler on Google’s Foray into China
On the Xooglers (ex-Googlers) blog, Doug Edwards; ex-Director of Consumer Marketing and Brand Management for Google, comments on his experiences with Google and the China censorship problem. Doug lends an insiders view to the goings on inside Google and the balance of patience and reality while Google stood on the edge of entering the Chinese market while Yahoo, eBay and Microsoft laid their claim.
The whole China thing is mess of mythic proportion with no easy solution. It would be easy to damn Google for collaborating if I hadn’t seen how hard the company’s execs tried to find a creative way out of the box. The fact that they’re moving in to the world’s largest and most obvious growth market months, or even years, after their competitors speaks to the exhaustiveness of their efforts to find some alternative path.
I can attest personally to the passion with which this issue was debated within the company. Great concern was expressed for those in China who would know only a bastardized version of Google search and for the company’s employees who would be subject to the whims of the Chinese government if an official office opened there.
I was in China recently and it was my sense that search engine censorship was expected by most Internet users, since so much of their news is already run through a government filter. They simply seem to shrug and factor it into their use of the web. The limited group of people with whom I spoke preferred search engines that gave them the best way to find mp3s and movies online and handled Chinese names correctly, rather than those that gave the most complete information about Taiwanese efforts to remain independent.
My personal take is that Google is making the right call. Once the gates of information are opened, I think the Chinese government will be hard pressed to contain all the content they would view as potentially harmful.
Doug’s post is quite a refreshing view in a blogosphere of attack dogs going after Google. Hattip to David Utter at Web Pro News.