Google Versus China: Endgame

Whenever I see the word ‘endgame’, the only thing going through my head is Highlander. I wonder why that is. Either way, that’s how the headline up there is meant to be read. Like, imagine the poster for Highlander: Endgame, and just imagine Christopher Lambert is Google, or something. “More Action! More Steamy Scenes! All-New Ending!” All-new ending. If only.

“Google agreed…that it will respect China’s laws and regulations,” said Zhang Feng of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Tuesday. “That is to say, it will not provide any information that will endanger China’s national security, damage China’s national interests, instigate ethnic hatred, spread superstitious information, damage social stability, or (provide) pornography, violence or slanderous information.”

In March, you may recall (assuming you frequent Google China with any degree of regularity) Google moved its Chinese-language search to Hong Kong in an effort to maintain its commitment not  to censor search results. The Chinese government not deeming the move satisfactory, Google has since halted the redirection, instead offering a large button (read: the entire goddamn page) users can click to Hong Kong style their search. Google Music, Translate, and Product Search are all still available natively on the Chinese home page, as itty-bitty little wee tiny baby text links. Apparently, all this checks out. “The rectification and reform in the annual application basically conforms to regulation,” said Zhang. “As for the question of Hong Kong, this a matter of the company’s internal business conduct.”

I find it endlessly cute that most news sites are reporting the Hong Kong redirect as a ‘button’ or ‘tab’. Seriously, you can click anywhere on the damn page. Anywhere, guys. That still feels like a big f*** you to me, but then again, what do I know?

An awful lot about Highlander, that’s what.

Written by Ty Dunitz

Ty is an illustrator who stays up too late, and has to wear glasses. You can follow him on Twitter if you want to (@glitchritual), but he's just gonna throw your stupid PR crap in the garbage, so don't email him.

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  • Possible typo in the first paragraph:
    “…that’s how the healdine up there…” – headline maybe?

    Cheers, the Google China saga is always an interesting read.

  • It’s funny, all the tech blogs I read report the redirect but to date I’ve yet to see a major news outlet get it right. Mostly they just decry Google for giving in to China. I don’t see how they did. To me, it’s a solution that makes both people happy. Google can say it’s not providing a filtered search to Chinese citizens and the Chinese government can say Google isn’t providing an unfiltered search in China.

    As one article put it, no matter how you look at it there is still one hell of a big hole in the “Great Firewall of China”.