Terrific piece by Becky Hogge on openDemocracy.net
Since going public in August 2004, [Google] has released over a dozen products, including Google Maps, Google Web Accelerator, Google Homepage, Google Sitemaps, Google Earth, Google Talk, Google Desktop, Google Base, Google Book Search, Google Video and Google Pack. So what has Google been up to in China during those eighteen months?
One clue might lie in the feature of google.cn that sets it apart from the other global search providers, like MSN and Yahoo!, operating inside China. This feature – much lauded in the official statements given by Google on the day of the launch – is that google.cn tells its customers when their search results have been “filtered”. How Google got that concession from the Chinese authorities might go some way to explaining why it took so long to release google.cn. But the question then has to be, what did Google offer in return?