Thursday, January 26, 2006

Google, China & Orwell

There is a huge uproar as Google said they will self-censor their Chinese search engine. While it is giving in to the Chinese government, some of the criticism in plainly cruel – like saying Google’s message ‘Don’t be evil’ translates into ‘We are greedy’ in Chinese.

Particularly, Sergei Brin is on the receiving end – I am not suggesting that there is a racial bias and his Russian origins are not forgotten in this controversy – because he happened to justify the action saying “I didn't think I would come to this conclusion -- but eventually I came to the conclusion that more information is better, even if it is not as full as we would like to see”.

There is indeed an Orwellian feel about that! But I still love Google and the way it organized my life, and changing it. I love the simplicity, the freeness, and the innovation – if you are challenging that, look at Google Maps or Google Local!

Far from being Orwellian, I think Google represents what is good about capitalism – innovation, far sight, customer-mindedness, so far. It is unfair to compare them with Microsoft, which, despite its strategic genius, is about copying, bullying, bad products, and mostly money – they have been this way for a while now. There are lots of Microsoft-lovers who kind of believe in a ‘pure, original Microsoft’, but that logic leads to say what a monster Wall Street can make out of a pioneering innovator!

Think – Google chose the second best option in China as otherwise, there would have been freedom to search without Google in China. Having used Internet Before Google, I am certain that was not an alternative.

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