Google shores up great firewall of China

Jinan, January 26:

Google, the world’s biggest search engine, will team up with the world’s biggest censor, China, today with a service that it hopes will make it more attractive to the country’s 110 million online users.

After holding out longer than any other internet company, Google will effectively become another brick in the great firewall of China when it starts filtering out information that it believes the government will not approve of.

Despite a year of soul-searching, the American company will join Microsoft and Yahoo! in helping China block access to websites containing politically sensitive content. Executives have grudgingly accepted that this is the ethical price they have to pay to base servers in mainland China, which will improve the speed — and attractiveness — of their service, where they face strong competition from the leading mandarin search engine, Baidu.

The new interface — — will be slowly pha-0-sed in over the coming months. Although users will have the option of continuing to search via the original US-based website, it is expected that the vast majority of Chinese search enquiries will go through mainland-based servers. This will require the company to abide by the rules of China, which is thought to have 30,000 online police monitoring blogs, chatrooms and news portals.

Google has remained outside this system until now. But its search results are still filtered and delayed by the giant banks of government servers, known as the great firewall of China.

Google, US row

WASHINGTON: In mar-ked contrast to its cooperative approach in China, Google currently fin-ds itself in confrontation with US justice department over the rights of its users. Google last week refused to hand over data on past usage to the government as evidence in an investigation into child pornography. Goo-gle has cited privacy of its users, but the justice department insists it is not looking for personal details. — The Guardian