Google: I'm shocked, shocked to find that evil is going on in here!

google-chinaWell this was not unexpected. Google has announced, on their English-language blog, that because of cyberattacks directed against certain human rights figures who use Google email accounts, Google is going to stop filtering their searches and if the Chinese government doesn’t like it, they are going to pull up stakes from China. I’m shocked, shocked to find that evil is going on in here. Google has never really been all that reliable in China.  The government is constantly interfering in search queries to, and the google site is frequently inaccesible within the country.  Baidu, Google’s clone in China, has frequently mucked about with Google’s operations in China, from being a tattle-tale about bad searches for porn to even more blatant (and quasi-illegal) actions behind the scenes and, possibly, under the table. Google has thrown down the gauntlet after a relatively minor event.  Some may say this is the straw that broke the camel’s back, but in reality, this whole thing, China-exit/Woo-the-world’s-press was sitting on a shelf waiting, just waiting for an excuse to be put into operation.  I just have to wonder, why today? While the Baidu folks and Chinese nationalists are screaming ‘we won’ the reality was it wasn’t necessarily a race that had to end on January 13, 2010.  I doubt Google’s China operations were costing that much vs. the cost of their revenues.  And generally, while a consistent black-eye to the company, there hasn’t been a flurry of anti-google PR in recent months for their operations in China. So I just have to wonder why January 13, 2010 is the date in which it all ‘just became too much’.  Is something else about to happen?  Was the writing on the wall that there was going to be some larger changes within China–some additional censorship or legal requirements?   We haven’t heard the full story, by a long stretch.  Perhaps in a few months I’ll get more details when I’m back in China, but for right now, the whole thing just seems a bit like an ‘excuse’ rather than a ‘reason’. UPDATE:  For what it is worth, Baidu’s revenues in China are approximately $450 million a year US.  Google’s revenue’s world wide are approximately $21 billion, or nearly 50 times larger.  Google makes in about a week what Baidu makes in a year, so walking away from the China market right now really isn’t going to hurt the bottom line.]]>