Back in January Google made a decision to censor its search results as part of an agreement with the Chinese government to provide Google China. I never had a problem with Google actually agreeing to censure results, but it just seemed quite hypocritical for a company who’s motto has been “Don’t be Evil”.
I, and many others, have made the argument that while making concessions to a dictatorial/communist/oppressive government may be a justifiablebusiness decision it’s hard to reconcile that with a “Don’t be Evil” motto. Kind of like the person who doesn’t want to do wrong but is quite OK in getting somebody else to break the law for them.
Yesterday, Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin, spoke with reporters in Washington, DC where he admitted that censoring their results for access to the Chinese market may not have been the right course of action.
“We felt that perhaps we could compromise our principles but provide ultimately more information for the Chinese and be a more effective service and perhaps make more of a difference.”
The article concludes:
Brin said Google is trying to improve its censored search service, Google.cn, before deciding whether to reverse course.
I’m curious if this is a genuine reverse course despite profits from China or the result of a business decision that didn’t turn out quite they way they expected, and now the “principled” voice within is now being allowed to be heard! Either way, it’s pretty big of him to admit this.