31 January 2006

Form Letter From Google

FROM: help@google.com

TO: egyptoid*speakeasy'net
DATE: Saturday, January 28, 2006 12:01 am
SUBJ: Re: [#44870317] FW: Chinese Censorship

Hi Elliott,

Thank you for contacting us about Google.cn. We launched Google.cn for our users in the People's Republic of China who want to search and browse in Simplified Chinese. Making our site available to millions of users in their preferred language is a critical part of our mission to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful.

At first, Google.cn will serve Google Web Search, Google Image Search, Google Local, and Google News. Over time, we'll provide more Google services tailored for the China market. In launching Google.cn, we aim to balance three important values: users' interests, expanding access to information, and responding to local conditions in the markets we serve. Prior to this launch, many users in China were unable to access our site,
and those who were able to access it often experienced persistent latency, delay, and time-out issues. With Google.cn, users can now access much more information, much more quickly.

As you may know, to operate a web service in China, we must remove a small percentage of content from the search results available on Google.cn. The decision to do that was not an easy one for Google, in light of our mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." After a long process of study, analysis, and debate about the many technical, business, and ethical considerations, we concluded that the best available option was to provide our Chinese users with a search service that, while filtered, will be faster, more reliable, and, overall, more comprehensive than what's available today. Given the current filtering that's performed on the entire internet in China, Google.cn will provide no less information than would otherwise be available. In fact, we believe that our advanced, innovative search technologies will make a noticeable net increase in the amount of information accessible to our Chinese users.

So, while removing this content may seem inconsistent with our mission, we believe that Google.cn will significantly improve the user experience and increase the overall accessibility of information in China. Our view is that providing as much information as possible is better than providing no information at all -- or providing such a heavily degraded user experience that it basically amounts to no information. Moreover, we think it's important to give users some meaningful disclosure whenever some results have been removed; in those cases, Google.cn clearly presents a message that says, "In response to local laws, regulations, or policies, one or more search results do not appear." It's also worth noting that Google.com will continue to be available, unfiltered, for all internet users worldwide, including those in China.

China is developing rapidly, thanks in no small measure to the internet. We firmly believe that with Google's culture of innovation, we can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive pace of development in China. We appreciate your interest in Google and your taking the time to share your concerns with us.

The Google Team

Original Message Follows:

From: Ell Egyptoid [mailto:egyptoid*speakeasy'net]
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 2:46 PM
Subject: Chinese Censorship

Dear Google:

Your policy of catering to the Chinese government doesnt make sense, and seems to be catering to making a dollar. If your job is to run a search engine, run it.

The Chinese government does much wrong, you should know that. Please do the right thing. Google has been my start page for over five years. Now I feel I must change it. I want honest neutral results.

If you feel I am exaggerating, use your own search engine on such phrases as CHINESE REPRESSION, and ask your selves, why did the Beijing government ask for this, really?

Rebuilder - Egyptoid
Hampton Roads, Va.

QUOTES from Google's own web-site:

Does Google ever manipulate its search results?

The order and contents of Google search results are completely automated. No one hand picks a particular result for a given search query, nor does Google ever insert jokes or send messages by changing the order of results. Occasionally, when a particular website is the subject of public attention, other sites begin linking to it. This may elevate its importance as gauged by our ranking software, which assigns a PageRank

Does Google censor search results?

Google does not censor results for any search term. The order and content of our results are completely automated; we do not manipulate our search results by hand. We believe strongly in allowing the democracy of the web to determine the inclusion and ranking of sites in our search results.

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