For Google.cn to operate in China, Google has to comply with government laws and censor certain search results from showing up to search engine users. Besides business reasons, censorship may be the biggest “value” clash for Google to exit China.
How Google Censorship Works
Google’s search algorithm is able to exclude web materials from appearing to users within search results. Google censors organic search results:
- For quality reasons – Google removes sites that “spam” the search engine.
- To comply with different local government laws – Google applies different levels of censorship to Google’s search engines in different countries.
Google’s censorship algorithm consists of global censorship and local censorship. Google often keeps the “removed” web material in the search engine’s index and uses the post-processing to remove web materials from search results showing to users.
What Search Results Are Being Censored on Google.cn?
In 2006, Blogoscoped researched and compiled a list of censored search terms in China:
- Words Returning Censored Google Results
- Censored Searches on Google.cn
- Google Images Censors Too in China
Impact on Google’s China Exit
- Google’s China Internet license may expire this month, however, the exit can possibly slow down Chinese Internet’s technology development.
- Chinese government demands Google to obey censorship laws no matter what Google’s decisions will be, however, Google says it’s still censoring China’s web site.
- Google’s Chinese ad partners urge the search engine to disclose future plans and set up compensations.
- Google’s China exit will hinder other Internet companies/technologies from entering the Chinese market and reaching Internet users in China – For example, Twitter, Google Buzz’s microblogging rival, may think twice before taking its business to China.
- Google’s exit may open up opportunities for Microsoft in China.