Goodbye Freedom: Shame on you Google | business | Hindustan Times
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Goodbye Freedom: Shame on you Google

On this day with my head hanging in shame I have just four words to say "Shame on you Google", writes Puneet Mehrotra.

business Updated: Feb 16, 2006 19:49 IST

Google, a netpreneur's ultimate dream. Google, a company me and many others of my kith and kin idolize. Google, a company that has enabled lacs and thousands of small entrepreneurs like me get their monthly cheques. Google, a company whose applications are simply amazing. Google, a company who we all prayed for, that it would ultimately win in the war of the giants. Yet on this day with my head hanging in shame I have just four words to say "Shame on you Google."

The sin of Google

I have been probably one of the biggest fans of Google. In the last four years I have written atleast 25 columns on this wonder company. Each application from this superb company was like a piece of art. It seemed like a perfect combination of technology and innovation. Google seemed to be God's favourite company to become a giant within a year of its launch and get one of the biggest fan following ever in human history.

Google, the blessed one, has today fallen. Google, the idol, has sold its character. This company whose foundations were based on innovation, creativity and openness sold itself to a bunch of communists. The outrage is triggered by Google's decision a few days ago to launchwww.google.cn - an emasculated Chinese version of the popular search engine. In keeping with demands from the Chinese government, Google's filters block out dissident literature, websites on computer security, anything with gay and lesbian overtones, teenage pregnancy, sites on dating and jokes. Chinese bloggers now call it the "eunuch search engine".

Market economics, understandable. Corporate competition, apprehensible. Shareholder profits, graspable. Sale of freedom, absolutely unacceptable. In fact absolutely unacceptable even in the most dire and extreme circumstances.

Intelligentsia connection lost

When a university professors' son creates the most wonderful application in the world and goes to become a rival to the biggest company under the sun, its speaks volumes of the kind of brains at work. The "thought network". The Standford University Network and the Google connection is well known. In fact, each Google application is absolutely superb. Right from design to development to usability, Google applications are absolute stunners. This simply isn't possible without the right brains at work. Why haven't the other companies, some bigger giants than Google managed to get even half the kudos? The answer is the thought network Google has. Absolutely awesome. One very good example is Google scholar. I covered it a few years ago when it was launched. Google has written beautifully about the academia in the true guru-dasksina tradition (paying back your mentors and teachers). They still have it on their site today. Google Scholar says "We recognize the debt we owe to all those in academia whose work has made Google itself a reality and we hope to make Google Scholar as useful to this community as possible. We believe everyone should have a chance to stand on the shoulders of giants."

Google now sold to the Chinese

Google, the same company whose foundations were based on innovation, creativity and openness, has sold itself to the Chinese.Today Google the loved one is faced with websites like noluv4google.

The websites says "Break up with Google this Valentine's Day. Have you heard about Google and the Chinese government?! They're SO going steady. We know it's all about the money though. Why else would Google betray us all and start spreading China's lies?"

One of the largest circulated newspapers has this on the front page headlines "F*** Google. Or so the war cry went. And it gained crescendo on Valentine's Day as the Internet, the only bastion of free speech, threatened to crumble."

A question for Google

So Google, the only bastion of free speech. Google, the thought leader. Google, the innovators God. Is this the way you "recognize the debt we owe to all those in academia whose work has made Google itself a reality". Those are your own words Google. A Google not in China would have been China's loss not Google's loss. Probably the bosses at Google bunked the strategy class to watch the Dragon's Feet.

Didn't expect Google to sell freedom so cheap. Shame on you Google!

Puneet Mehrotra is a web strategist atwww.Cyberzest.comand editswww.MidnightEdition.comyou can email him on puneet@cyberzest.com