I’m quite aware that some bloggers are ranting that Google must be evil just for creating a google.cn domain that filters search results according to Chinese law (and alerts users as to why results have been removed). Many of the same bloggers are simply confused or mis-reporting news. Google follows the laws all over the world, and I don’t see that as a particularly evil thing.

Every country has some things they insist on blocking. Most of Europe is still sensitive about Nazi propaganda, for example. In the US, quite a few things are blocked due to anti-pornography laws, and very strong IP laws . Yes, some search results on google.cn will be blocked if you search for “falun gong”. The same is true, (though no longer on the front page), of searching on “scientology” in Germany, where Scientology is banned. I really can’t see how not providing information to people, and telling them that they can’t due to the law, is “evil”.

Another point is, people in China can still go to google.com and see the exact same search results that US users do. Furthermore, google.cn is the only search in China that I know of that actually tells users when search results are blocked by the government. Unlike giving the government information about dissidents (a la Yahoo), not serving all search requests does no direct harm to the user. In cases where direct harm could come to the user through government subpoena, such as Gmail, Google simply doesn’t offer service in China. If this way of doing business is “evil”, then all of the frothing “let’s boycott Google” hoards need a new word to describe just what Yahoo, Microsoft and the rest of Google’s competitors are.