Jan 13, 2010

Google's Angry, Sacrifice and the Accelerated Splitting Internet

From Google.cn, to G.cn, to Chinese name Guge, this Internet giant tried to fit its size and pose to the bottle of censorship, while it still can not afford the conflict of the values. In 2009, it has been blocked from access, humiliated for spreading porn and accused for copyright infringement. Finally, Google expressed its value in a direct, as well as not Chinese, way.

When I heard this news yesterday, the first thing what I did was to save the page of Google.cn. It may be dead soon.

          

Following a tweet, people gathered and present flowers to Google Beijing office (click here for more, and the latest report is: along with flowers and candles, a book 1984 by George Orwell joined the gifts for sacrifice):




Twitter  is blocked in China, but yesterday the Chinese twitters made tag #GoogleCN climbed to the top ten of twitter's keywords. It is a bit touching, and a bit hopeful - A profitable, foreign company get this means filtering and block still not make Chinese people (at least some of them) losing their eyesight and judgment to what is good and what is bad. 

However, they are losing, and may lose faster, along with the Cinternet's separation from the Internet. Here are the top 20 websites according to Alexa:
  1. Google.com: China Gov will not be possible to tolerate such challenge.
  2. Facebook.com: blocked.
  3. Youtube.com: blocked;
  4. Yahoo.com: it's Chinese website yahoo.cn has been acquired by Alibaba, a Chinese company;
  5. Windows Live, still can be accessed in China, but some blogs are blocked.
  6. Wikipedia: blocked.
  7. Blogger.com: blocked several times.
  8. Baidu.com,百度
  9. MSN.com: still can be accessed from China.
  10. Yahoo.jp: still can be accessed from China
  11. QQ.com: China's top IM provider and the top news website now.
  12. Google.co.in: Google India, it will be blocked because Google's search engine is uniformed.
  13. Twitter: blocked.
  14. Myspace: blocked sometime;
  15. Google.cn: It will die soon if Google keeps its promise.
  16. sina.com.cn,新浪
  17. Google.de: will also be blocked soon.
  18. Amazon.com: Some of it's S3 Servers in America is blocked; it's Chinese version still works.
  19. Wordpress.com: has been blocked for a long time.
  20. Microsoft.com: it is alive.
More blocked website not in the top 20 include but not limit to discuss.com.hk (the largest BBS in Hong Kong), www.mingpaonews.com (the most reliable newspaper in Hong Kong), xanga.com, mitbbs.com (the biggest Chinese forum out of China), flickr.com, etc. Yes,  flickr. So one may know why yahoo sold its Chinese site. The fact is: for each new application that can not be controlled by the Chinese gov, if the operator does not restrict itself, it will be blocked. This is surely not an environment that Google can endure.

From technological block to institutional restriction, the trend of splitting the Internet seems faster than what we had imagine. As I had mentioned in last week's Berkman fellows hour, the tragic would not be the splitting of the Chinese Internet from the English Internet, but the splitting of the Internet content (no matter what language) among different people - resourceful (technically, economically or politically) people can access all the data, others can access less and less. Controllers may control others and society may be more and more like the beehive.

BTW, two jokes that are RTed among Chinese twitters:
  • 1990s baby: I find a foreign website "Google" out of GFW, just like Baidu! 00s: what's GFW? 10s: what's website? 20s: what's foreign? 
  • (because baidu was just hacked one day before by some Iran hackers) From depress to delight, will LYH (Baidu.com's boss) be crazy? No, he is busying on backup of his emails in Gmail.

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