Good News Is Hard To Come By

Another IST faculty member, Lee Giles, passed this little read around to the IST faculty list serve this morning … talks about Google’s new foray into China and the strange phenomenon related to its search results — or lack there of. Those of us who thought the web was a way to break down barriers, defeat politics, and open the door to new perspectives and information, well, take a look. It reminds of some research the IST Solutions Institute did several years ago when we were creating the content for 11 and 250 … the instructional design group started to search for exact strings on different engines — at the time, the biggies were Yahoo, Excite, the Netscape portal, and the AOL portal … when we searched for things, the results were so skewed by the political bias of the engines — not to mention that AOL blocked almost all searches that contained, in their opinion, lewd words (breast cancer comes to mind).

Makes me want to tell you all to use multiple sources, do the due diligence to research multiple perspectives, and always do more than just, “google” for information.

Anyway, back to China … we talked last week about hardware and software companies moving into services and other, more broad markets by changing their plans mid-stream … looking at Google’s obvious cooperation with the Chinese government to help, “smooth the way for expansion plans that could help the Mountain View-based company boost future profits,” has me wondering how important it is to know what is really going on behind the scenes after we hit the “search” button — raises some very interesting (even scary) questions in my mind. How about you–>

16 Replies to “Good News Is Hard To Come By”

  1. Nothing really deep to add. I never really thought of the search engines as being in it for the greater good. In trying to expand their markets, there is an understanding that each market will present a unique set of opportunities and limitation.

    It seems that a government trying to monitor web content will always be fighting a losing battle. Look at the illegal gambling and porn right here in our backyard. It seems that, the Chinese surfers are getting better access to information even with a “limited” google search.

  2. I read this article earlier this week and it really is scary. I mean what if google was limited by our governemt and we werent getting the information we needed because of our governemnt. We could be kept from the world if they started to limit the internet through politics. Google is wrong on giving into politics but who can blame them. More money for them and thats basically what all companies are all about. Theres no such thing as a “good company” when it comes to money.

  3. I agree with Derek on this one. Google and all businesses for that matter should not get involved in government issues and politics. But as we all know, businesses today are in it for the money and will do just about anything to make as much money as possible. But from the business point of view, Why not do this? They are achieving their goals of major profits, but it’s just something they shouldn’t be doing. Now, this issue is a big deal for China, however, I don’t see it as a big issue for the US. I just don’t see the United States government keeping information from its people, the information that we need to know. There is so much information and stuff out there that it would be hard to block it all anyway.

  4. I recently read an article that taught me to the ways of the search engines. When you type in a subject to search, the first ones to appear at the top of the list are the ones that pay the search engine the most (at least here in the U.S.) . The search engines sell the top listings for the search results.
    As for government intervention in matters of Internet search engines, I would hope that the U.S. government did not have their hands in that pot. If the government were censoring the Internet, how would we know? We couldn’t.
    Google must be trying to get their foot in the door in case future censorship eases up. If and when it does, they will be in the front pew and ready. It’s just good business sense if you think about it. It is unfortunate that the Chinese government sensors the information their citizens can see but what can be done about this? Talk about biting off more than you can chew. Yes we have all sorts of information easily at hand but that isn’t the case in China. After all, they are the Chinese Communist Party that have been telling their millions and millions of people what they can do and when.

  5. I think that article is definitely crazy. I mean come on now, why does the Chinese Govt. have to filter out certain websites through google? I mean of course China has a different govt then we do, but still I think its pretty stupid. I never knew anything like that was going on. It’s pretty interesting.

  6. This seems a little dicey at best. ITt is interesting to ponder what sites may be blocked when I hit “I’m feeling lucky”, but I think google.com has a good stance for this issue. Sometimes, we as a community should not know everything. Sometimes it is for the better. Everyone knows that the US governement hides things, but the difference is that China blocks opposing viewpoints; something the US is based on. If your whole company is based on one thing, in this case not returning broken or forbidden links, why should this change in the face of adversity. This really isn’t a google issue, it’s a Chinese government issue.

  7. I think it is unfair for the Chinese citizens to not have full access to the world wide web! If the government has such a problem with some of these sites, they should try to just get them off the internet completely. If they are worried about security maybe they should just have more sites secured by password. It seems like the people of China are being cheated out on some of their internet privileges.
    Also, this does affect google’s reputation as a search engine. They have such a high success rate for helping people and find what they are looking for. I am glad our government isn’t being as harsh in choosing what we can find on the internet.

  8. I wasn’t all that surprised that the Chinese governmnet is blocking sites from Google’s search engine. I think that Google is doing the right thing by not causing a fuss with the government. The article said they are only excluding a few sites, and Google doesn’t want the link to pop up if the users can’t follow the link through to the website. Even though they are regulating what the Chinese population can view, the population can still search the Internet, bring a benefit to them. I don’t think that Google alone can take on the Chinese governemnt and I don’t think they should have to. Censorship of websites is a problem the Chinese population themselves should take on, not an American company.

  9. I don’t see anything surprising in this article. I guess sometimes people forget that China is still a communist governemnt, and while it has taken strides to become more democratic, the government structure remains the same. To say “Oh, i don’t think it’s right that internet users in China can’t see certain websites” is ridiculous. What isn’t right is the persecution of the Falun Gong and other religious sects in China. I found nothing surprising in this at all. In fact I would expect nothing else in China.

  10. Ok, maybe I’m not on the same wavelength as the rest of you guys. The way I see it, China doesn’t come over here and tell us how to run our contury and our business (except for the ones owned by them). But really, why are we so important enough to say what Chinese citizens have the right to see on the internet. I don’t know if I’m just not seeing some big message that everybody else gets. That’s my two cents.

  11. I was very suprised to see that the Chinese govenment has created barriers in search engine results. I would like to believe that when we use search engines we’re getting the all the results, but like China I have a feeling that our government also has created barriers when it comes to the on-line information we’re recieving. I think that if theres information out there they don’t want us seeing then have it removed from the internet, otherwise we should be entitled to full results when searching on the internet.

  12. That seems very shady to me, I am not by any means a paranoid conspiracy theorist but I do know that people in those countries usually do not have the right to speak their minds. There are many website that are trying to help these people “speak” by have IPscramblers or whatnot code where they are going on the internet so they don’t get in trouble with the goverment. It seems like google has either been bought out or is getting pushed.

  13. Google should be able to display what ever it’s users request. If certain governments want to forbid access to information then that government’s policies concerning certain information should pop up if a google user clicks on a link that doesn’t work. Let each government explain to it’s people why they restrict access to certain information searched for on google.

  14. I think that it is stupid, I dont think google should have done that, but that is what a company is there for to make money. If that is the way to make money then thats what they will do. I do not really understand how the goverment can regulate the internet. There is so mush information out there how could they possibly limit it all. If the U.S pulled bullshit like that I would definitly protest agaisnt that. Who are they to say what I can and can’t look up.

  15. I’ve noticed in the past few years that all the search engines i used to love (dogpile, yahoo, and now even google) are really going downhill in terms of what they return for me. I’ve heard of them having preferential treatment for certain places and sending those results first, but still covering the other things if you dug a little deeper.. So i guess it’s better than in China. But I still have a problem with a search engine not returning the results most desired by my search string because they are getting a little extra cash from somebody else, usually, something having to do with adult or gambling sites.. go figure…

  16. This article was nuts. I NEVER thought that anything would be controlled on a search engine, it never crossed my mind. However, I feel like China is much more command economy and we are captialistic so hopefully our government wont/arent controlling what we see and dont see on the internet.

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