Google China: Outlook not so good

Ari Robbins
Contributing Editor from  Atlanta, GA
| March 17, 2010

Google China

It's no secret that Google and China have been undergoing negotiations (if you want to call it that) regarding censorship on the internet for some time now.  Until early this year, Google was catching fire for adhering to China's policy on the censoring of certain search term results.  There have been conflicting reports as to whether or not Google expects to stay in the communist country, however, I think it's clear at this point if they stay it won't be in the same form as it once was.

The status quo changed in January when Google (among others - supposedly) received cyber attacks aimed at accessing specific Gmail accounts.  Since then, China hasn't budged on the censorship issue, and Google has been looking for ways around it.  One of the more immediate problems with Google leaving China altogether is that many Chinese companies rely on Google's custom search box for their website.  An immediate withdrawal from China would leave many of these businesses temporarily down, at least in some part, until an alternative is found.

At this point if Google decides to stay, it looks like they will be working with individual government entities as well as individual businesses to help power their search, and let them be the ultimate judge of what gets filtered.  This suggests, however, that a site whose sole purpose is to provide a search engine for your daily needs (read: will most likely cease to exist.  But it seems Google still sees value in the aforementioned business model, otherwise I imagine they would have packed their bags by now.

Another Google entity that could be affected by the decision is Android, and it's possible we've already seen the first hint of this by way of Motorola selecting Bing as its search engine of choice for Android in China.  Google had intended to launch Android this past January, but the ongoing debacle has since put a halt on the release of certain phones along with the cancellation of a developer event.  It has been reported that Google has a 36% market share in China (that's pretty darn big!), so if they decide to leave, they'll be making a huge statement. 

The clock is ticking folks, and the answers are not far away.  What do you think Google should do?  Sound off below!

Via BGR, Engadget, CNET, Gizmodo, ars technica