Sunday, January 29, 2006

Imagining a Google future

(I'm on a blogging spree today.. don't know why..)

Interesting article on CNN Money with four predictions of Google's future:
1) Google is the media
2) Google is the internet
3) Google is dead
4) Google is God

Fun speculation :o)

On that whole Google China controversy I take issue with both sides of the argument.

It is a shame that there is such censorship in China, however I think people are being unrealistic about how much leverage companies like Google, Yahoo, and MSN have.

These companies basically have two choices: Don't go into China or go into China. If they don't go the Chinese government won't care, they have indigenous alternatives like Baiku. Indeed I read recently that for every American Web 2.0 site there is a Chinese "sister" site doing a similar application. If the companies do go into China, they can only do so with the blessing of the government (as in any other country) and must operate by the laws and regulations imposed by the government.

On the other side, I think it is a bit disingenuous of these companies to say that by being in China they are helping to make information easier to access, or helping improve the internet experience of Chinese consumers. Like I said above there are already local companies doing the same thing. The reason these companies go into China is because there is market pressure on them to enter what will be a huge market (Chinese broadband adoption will pass US broadband by 2008).

If there's one thing the coverage of internet censorship by the big three shows, it's that for all the talk of community generated content, of blogging being a tool of democracy and so on, most information on the internet is controlled at very centralised points. A handful of companies host most of the blogs in the world. A handful of companies are used by people to search the internet. It's very easy to turn off the flow of information should someone powerful enough choose to.

No comments: