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A Way Out (Win-Win?) for Google and the Government

I shared some thoughts about Google in China a while back, and I still feel the same way. Now that the Chinese government is making itself very clear, and it looks like Google is about to make a move, I’d like to express more succinctly what I think (and hope) Google is going to do:

1. and will “close”. The best result for Google would be that the and domain names will stay around and simple redirect to

2. Google will focus government relations on providing faster and more reliable access to services in China, rather than trying to legally host the services in China (which is what they’ve been trying to do with

This is an acceptable solution for both Google and the Chinese government, as Google gets to follow through on their pledge to no longer censor search results, and the government doesn’t back down on its laws and regulations.

The big question is whether or not Google will be able to be successful with improving access to services in China. Blocked google services include Spreadsheets, YouTube, and Blogspot. I’m going to go out on a (very long and fragile) limb and say that Google has come to some sort of understanding with the Chinese government to allow improved access to the core Google services in China. YouTube and Blogspot will almost certainly remain blocked, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Spreadsheets starts working by the end of the month, and maybe even other stuff will speed up (Google counts in nanoseconds). The government may choose to censor results from the China side (blocking some searches, etc.), but Google’s hands are “clean”.

If Google is successful in this, then the whole ordeal will have had very little effect on Google’s business in China, and may even end up a net positive. Ads from Chinese companies can still be served on (and have always been served on, and Google can continue to do R&D for Chinese language products (and whatever else they do) even without The original purpose of was to serve a fast and reliable version of Google in China, and if they can achieve this goal without, then becomes less important.

We’ll see.

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2 Responses

  1. Those are very good points. I am wandering if
    can still be used in China? They are serving the similar function.

    catmumMarch 23, 2010 @ 4:45 pm
  2. Great question. It redirects to I imagine, though, that it is serving up essentially the same content. There is also a link from the page to in English.

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