Google's Ishtar Moment
from the warren-beatty-in-the-desert dept
It's really quite impressive how much life there is in the story about Google censoring results in China. Considering that plenty of other companies have done it for years, it seemed like the reaction was a bit out of the ordinary. However, Andy Kessler has put his finger on the problem. It's Google's big sellout moment. It goes against everything they represented -- something they're now trying to explain away with doubletalk and a quick rewrite of history. As Kessler explains (with plenty of amusing examples), it's not the censorship that's the problem -- but that Google set themselves up to be such an idyllic company that would never do such a thing. He also shows how it's possible to sellout in a way that keeps you cool -- which Google didn't do. In the meantime, it turns out that people are discovering the way to get around Google's filters is pretty much the same way that spammers get around spam filters and the way file sharers got around Napster's original filters: by misspelling words. This is curious, because one of Google's features is that it tries to infer what you really meant when you put in a misspelled word. You would think that they would be able to more easily block creatively spelled variations... So, now we can start the conspiracy theories (all bogus, of course) that Google purposely left this as a loophole.