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Analyst: Google Still Censoring, Less Likely to Leave China

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 05, 2010

Google made plenty of noise with its January announcement that the company was “no longer willing to continue censoring” its Web search results in China at the behest of that country’s policies. But nearly two months later, the company has not followed through on the threat and is less likely to shut its Chinese site, according to a recent study by analysts at Piper Jaffray.

Searches done on ten “sensitive” keywords in the Mandarin language on, the company’s Chinese search site, yielded 52% fewer results than searches for the same keywords on the uncensored, English-language site, the analysts said in a research report on March 5. That confirms the censors are still in effect. And there may actually be a higher level of filtering on now than there was in January, when Piper Jaffray found 40% fewer search results on the censored search engine for the same ten keywords.

The likelihood that Google will shutter has diminished to 50% from 70%, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster writes in a research note.

The results of this study are line with reports that the company’s executives are in talks with Chinese officials, and are waiting to lift censorship in the country until the parties reach some resolution. Google employs hundreds of people in its Beijing offices, and some analysts take recent actions – such as looking to hire new workers there and introducing new mobile products – as signals that it intends to keep operating in the country to some capacity.

Still, it’s unclear how Google and China could reach a compromise, as the search giant remains resolute in its ultimatum. Google deputy general counsel Nicole Wong t Google vice president and deputy general counsel Nicole Wong told the US Senate Judiciary Committee on March 3 that the company is “firm in our decision that we will not censor our search results in China and we are working towards that end.”

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Reader Comments

Tony Zhou

March 5, 2010 06:54 PM

That is the American Style. They always make big noise because they think they are most important in the world, just care their momery, their sex life.


March 5, 2010 08:17 PM

The language is 'Chinese', not 'Manadarin'. 'Mandarin' is the standard spoken dialect.


March 5, 2010 09:24 PM

“firm in our decision that we will not censor our search results in China and we are working towards that end.”
just go out,you are not wellcome


March 5, 2010 09:43 PM

What! Google the loser still hasn't left China yet? I just wonder what kind of loser would open his big mouth and not carry out his threats.


March 6, 2010 01:44 AM

why didn't pull out yet? so tacky a strategy


March 6, 2010 05:37 AM

Google made a sensational stupid decision in throwing a tantrum about the censorship thing and quitting China - without thinking over it properly. Now its on the back foot. China does not need Google. China has no worries of Google quitting. It will be Google's own disadvantage if it is not in the world biggest market (of just about anything). Microsoft's Ballmer and Bill at least are more realistic when you hear their views of this Google matter in China. Microsoft would be laughing themselves to death if Google really quits. And I surely think those interviews would have woken up Schmidt & Sergei(??) or caused them sleepless nights. Eric tweeted his words at the Davos Summit when asked - a clear sign of withdrawal. And for the western journalist who tried to paint a sympathetic picture of chinese google fans putting flowers and white wine outside Google's office in Beijing, let me just clarify - they reflect the funeral customs of the Chinese - know what that means?


March 6, 2010 11:43 AM

I have been saying from the beginning that I don't believe Google is serious about its threat to pull out its China operations. The threat was apparently a hotheaded reaction to the cyberattacks on its G-mail server. I am watching Google to eat its words. The likely scenario will be a deal of compromise that Chinese government gives Google an empty promise to ‘gradually’ loose the stringency of its filtering criteria to save Google’s face while Google continue to censor ‘unhealthy’ contents such as pornographic and violent sites.

Btw, Google’s algorithms to present search contents in certain areas make no difference from censorship. If the is any one who can control information flow, there will never be free and unbiased information. It has nothing to do with democracy and human rights, it is all about business decision.


March 6, 2010 04:00 PM

Their whole "Do No Evil." is the funniest line of all. When it comes to making a few cents, they will do plenty evil, and we are witnessing it now.


March 6, 2010 04:59 PM

Im sure that if there is stioll money to be made, Google will stay there....They are just flexing thats all

Window Tinting Atlanta Ga

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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