Good Morning Silicon Valley, "Google
CEO on censoring: ‘We did an evil scale’" from InfoWorld has Google CEO Eric
Schmidt explaining at the Davos World Economic Forum that Google spent over a
year debating what to do on China, including creating an "evil scale" to help
with the decision.
Apparently, not being in China at all would have been a 10 on the EvilRank
scale while bending to Chinese censorship demands was somewhat less evil than
that (ER2? ER7?).
OK, so no actual number range on the scale was outlined by Schmidt, who
"We concluded that although we weren’t wild about the restrictions, it was
even worse to not try to serve those users at all," Schmidt said. "We actually
did an evil scale and decided not to serve at all was worse evil."
So there you have it. Official confirmation that the motto can now be changed
from "Don’t Be Evil" to "Try Not To Be Evil" or perhaps "Choose The Least Evil."
I’m also getting tired of the entire spin that this was a choice between
Google serving users in China or not, some binary decision, some off-on choice
Google was faced with. It wasn’t. Google has not once suggested that failure to
bend to Chinese censorship demands meant that Google would not have been
available in China at all.
Yes, China had blocked searches at Google. The Google Blog recently
this happened to those in China about 10 percent of the time. But that’s a far
different situation than the suggestion Google was somehow completely
inaccessible, and so censorship was the only course that could be followed. In
fact, China still allows Google to continue offering an uncensored version at
sites other than Google China, such as Google.com. So it clearly wasn’t a case
that Google couldn’t be in China at all.
I’ve done some more deconstruction of the Google Blog’s explanation for the
censorship moves at the SEW Forums starting
here. Feel free to comment yourself in that thread.