Saturday, January 28, 2006


This has been popping up a lot lately at, Google's new search engine for China:


You don't understand? I don't either but I'm told that it basically means "these results are censored" and it is the disclaimer for Google as they post results that have been modified according to specs provided by the Government of China.

I have not been as critical as most of Google's decision to censor results for several reasons. The best have been articulated by Bill Gates at Microsoft. Gates echoes many of the sentiments expressed in this official post by Google about Google Censorship:

... embrace of a market economy and its lifting of 400 million people out of poverty ...

China critics give these accomplishments short shrift. Life comes before liberty, and to enjoy both you must have adequate living conditions. It's not clear to me that it's our right or our job to tell China how to meet the needs of the world's largest population.

McLaughlin continues:
But how is that full access most likely to be achieved? We are convinced that the Internet, and its continued development through the efforts of companies like Google, will effectively contribute to openness and prosperity in the world. Our continued engagement with China is the best (perhaps only) way for Google to help bring the tremendous benefits of universal information access to all our users there.

I'm not as optimistic as Google about the future of censorship in China but I'm also tired of hearing the shrill commentary implying that we've "perfected" free speech here in the USA. "All the free speech money can buy" is hardly a perfect model for a free and open democracy.

Sure, a thoughful speaker has the right to challenge or discuss any political point of view, but even the finest and most intelligent debates are (usually) lost in the din of "news" about celebrity crimes and propaganda by the celebrity spokespeople for the mindless.

Luckily the internet is a far more powerful distributive mechanism than most reckon and the spread of information will flow past most of the roadblocks very quickly. This is happening in the USA thanks to websites and blogs that challenge conventional wisdom and the abundant commercial forms of speech that effectivly censor debate and it's starting to happen in China as people learn to beat the filters and access the "free and open" global internet. China will soon see that censorship will likely have the unintended consequence of focusing attention on the very topics they seek to hide.

JoeDuck's Blog

The eyes of the dot com storms

When you are involved with something on a regular basis - in my case internet publishing and marketing stuff - it's hard to determine the extent to which THE world revolves around this stuff as opposed to just YOUR world.

These days it sure feels like I'm a small part of the global storm - now a hurricane - which is growing in intensity, sweeping away old business models like so much straw, and reshaping the way Governments, business, and most importantly people grow, thrive, and sometimes fail in this brave new Xth wave world. Hey - I coined Toffler and Huxley in the same sentence!

Davos' theme this year is creativity and (naturally?) the top idea about the theme came from Google's Marissa Mayer. More about that later...

One little eye of one of the big hurricanes usually called "Web 2.0" is the mashup camp coming in February. I'm very excited about it because I agree with many who suggest that mashups represent a significant new trend in online activity. Blogs and mashups are putting users and small time programmers back in control in powerful and unexpected ways.

Most importantly big online programming behemoths - especially Yahoo and Amazon but also Google and MSN, are facilitating the mashup frenzy with increasingly robust APIs. These often involve mixing maps and other data, but in the case of Amazon they are pretty much releasing the search engine application itself which should lead to a flurry of rich search mashup applications.

Who's going to mashup camp? Yahoo's top blogger JZ will be there, as will MSN's top blogger Scoble and many others from Google, Yahoo, MSN, media. But most important may be the unknown little geeks working away in their garage on the next big idea. Giving away the prize for the best mashup will be no less than the president of Sun Microsystems Jonathan Schwartz.

The big guys understand that the little guys are making a big difference. I'm cool with that.

JoeDuck's Blog