In a surprising move, the official Google blog posted an entry today about taking a new approach with China. The entry explains in detail how various hacking and phishing attempts have recently been detected that tried to access Gmail accounts of a number of human rights activists in China. These attempts had been originated in China and were very sophisticated.
These recent attempts combined with the heavy censorship that Google has to do in China, on request of Chinese authorities, has made Google take a bolder stance on the issue. The blog entry went as far ahead as saying
We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.
In short, Google is telling the Chinese authorities that they won’t compromise on integrity and freedom of speech any more even if it results in Google closing down their business in China.
What does this mean for Google?
Google is giving the impression that the business and revenue they would lose from China is not really significant to them. According to a JP Morgan estimate, Google will lose $600 Million in revenue every year if they close their doors in China. This might be an insignificant source of revenue for Google right now (compared to their $26 Billion global revenue), but one should also consider the growth of internet in China and the potential revenue Google might be getting from the Chinese market 10 years down the road.
Some critics are also stating that Google had already decided to close down their business in China since they were not doing too well, and this recent move is just a marketing tactic to gain some positive PR on an already decided issue.
Do you think Google is doing the right thing?