Google just can't seem to keep out of the big spotlight whether you are talking stocks, global economy, politics from Davos, DOJ subpoenas, and most currently censorship of content at Google.cn, the chinese edition of Google.
Regarding China Google censorship:
What intrigues me is that there is no doubt that the triumverate who rules Google -founders Brin and Page and CEO Schmidt, are excellent guys and their intentions are in line with what most would consider legitimate, in fact lofty, global goals.
To think otherwise is simply to fail to pay attention to the way Page and Brin designed the site and the company, how Google got big, and how it has stayed a global leader. Google's top blog informal "spokesengineer" Matt Cutt's follows the general tendency of Google to be very introspective and even posts addresses of sites critical of Google.
But something is out of whack when they are fighting the DOJ's mundane request for search data yet caving to the Chinese Government's censorship requirements.
I do think onliners generally make way too much of censorship, which we ALL practice in many forms in many contexts. A dirty joke would be fine at a football party, yet it would be an abusive act if told by the same person in a kindergarten class. If a teacher was fired for telling their kindergarten class dirty jokes most would have no objection. This is a form of censorship and it's perfectly legitimate.
Political censorship is anathema to democracy and Americans are rightly very protective of free speech, especially in the political context. But it's hardly absent here. American right and left wing seem determined to brand their opponents as treasonous or deserving of impeachment or worse.
It's an effort to shout down or chill debate and it, too, can be a form of censorship, especially when those who control the means of speech have hidden agendas. Fox News spouts even the most mindless conservative tripe while giving short shrift to intelligent liberal points of view. Fox's Roger Ailes claim they are just helping to "balance" a "liberal media" but this is fodder for the mindless. Any clear thinker would agree that *Fox censors liberals*. That said, pretty much all media outlets censor Nazis, KKK, Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, and many other points of view for many reasons.
So, where is the high road? I sure don't think Google's found it, but that may just means they are in good company with the rest of us.