Let’s take a step back from the America-centric bubble of Google and check out what China’s doing…

Battelle explores what’s going on with search in China. Extreme internet censorship has prohibited Google from becoming the phenomenon that it has become in the states and in so many other countries around the world. But just because China hasn’t become “Googleized” doesn’t mean that they haven’t figured out their own formula.

It’s exceptionally important to understand what China is doing, because “China represents a problem for a democratic businesses–its political and moral cultures are repugnant, but its market is far too rich to ignore.” (Battelle, pg. 204) Battelle notes that in the fall of 2002, the Chinese government filtered Google and other search engines–but this caused a huge backlash among Chinese citizens. Google censors its website for China–definitely making an exception for the growing population. China has continued to be a problem for Google…something they can’t quite conquer.

Censoring their website belittles Google’s very own goal to crawl through websites and obtain all the information relevant to a search. By censoring the information returned to the searcher, Google doesn’t have all of the charisma that it has outside of China. In defense of this, Google released the following statement: “While removing search results is inconsistent with Google’s mission, providing no information… is more inconsistent with our mission.”

So what does China use if they don’t rely on Google? Baidu. And what has this basically meant for Google? “Hey, we don’t really need you. We have our OWN Top 10 search engine.”

And that they do. Baidu continues to be the predominant go-to for Chinese citizens living in an e-world of censorship. Baidu and Google’s home pages look remarkably similar, as does much of their ideology. In a business overview, Baidu claims the following:

“Our mission is to provide the best way for people to find information. To do this we listen carefully to our users’ needs and wants. Have we collected all the Chinese web pages they want to see? Are the pages current and up to date? Are the search results closely related to their queries? Did we return those search results instantly? To improve user experience, we constantly make improvements to our products and services…Our users definitely notice the many little things that we do differently to ensure a simple and reliable search experience every time.”

And yet, Google continues to push and push…they want to bump Baidu out of the way and resume their #1 position in the world. As Battelle argues, “China is a huge market, and as a soon-to-be public company, Google could not afford to sit on the sidelines as competitors charged into the region.” (pg. 207).

I think we should leave China be. They have figured out a popular search engine for them, and who is Google to try to push itself onto one more country? Admit defeat and move on. Yes, China would be a huge conquest for Google, but the omnipresence of Google can be all but too creepy.

The China Question looms on. It would be absurd for Google not to try to tap into the Chinese market, yet they are definitely playing by China’s rules in doing so. China took the confines of their censorship, and did something about it–they didn’t take a backseat to Google by any means. It will be interesting to see how other countries may respond internally to Google’s bubble, or if they will continue to use Google when Search 3.0 rolls around.

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