Google, China & Android


chinaIf you’re not already aware (you may be from a different planet), Google has announced a new approach to doing business in China after several governmental hacking attacks on human rights groups came to light. The country censors Google’s search results and has made the company’s mission of organizing the world’s information nearly impossible: information that a Communist country doesn’t want you to see, you’re not allowed to see.

As part of their new Chinese strategy, it seemed that Google was pulling out of China completely. Those are rumors which Google denied, saying instead that they are in active talks. But the talks are clearly about Google convincing China to allow unfiltered and uncensored search results. The world’s largest country versus the world’s largest company?

If Google stays in China they could be subject to even TIGHTER regulation. I think Google is doing a great thing, but it also opens up the door for Microsoft’s Bing or Yahoo to capitalize on the huge Chinese population using their search engine’s instead… and we all know that China has a HUGE population (1.3+ Billion).

But how does Android fit into the picture?

Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that Android Phones by Motorola and Samsung have been postponed because of Google’s concerns that users won’t have the best experience. But unless these are Google experience phones that have “with Google” branding, why should Google have any say in this? The handsets were headed to China Unicom, but couldn’t they launch the devices without Google Search, Google Maps, GMail, Yahoo and all the Google-related features?

I understand Google’s concern but if it’s truly open, Google shouldn’t be able to leverage Android against China in this spat. I agree with Google’s position in general, but Android’s purpose was to level the playing field… and this clearly shows a tilted playing field in the direction of Google.

What do you think? Should Google be restricting use of Android in China? Should they treat “with Google” and regular Android phones differently in regard to China? Is Google operating with a heavy hand here or have Motorola and Samsung agreed with this approach?

It would absolutely stink for Motorola/Samsung/China Unicom if they were ready to launch a handset and at the last second Google simply said, “no you don’t”…. did they?

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

Hey HTC Android Tablet, Let Me Introduce You To The Garbage Can

Previous article

Android Capturing Hearts, Minds & Momentum

Next article

You may also like


  1. Hooray for Google for believing in integrity over profits. More businesses should. And more people should believe that censoring, in almost every regard, is a progressive step backwards.

  2. “information that a Communist country doesn’t want you to see, you’re not allowed to see.”

    This holds true for so-called “democratic” countries as well. The difference between Communist countries and “democratic” or “republic” countries is that at least the people in the Communist countries know they’re being lied to and brainwashed. The same can’t really be said for the others.

    But, yea. I did stray from the Android comments. Google is a pushover just like the rest. Don’t let the PR campaign fool you.

    Does anyone REALLY understand what it means to “organize the world’s information”?

  3. This article is full of misinformation and hyperbole. I understand wanting to start an open thread on China and Android, but jeez, at least come correct with your info.

    1. China doesn’t censor Google. Google censors itself to meet Chinese laws.

    2. “Governmental hacks against Human Rights Groups.” Don’t you mean to say “purported hacks by the Chinese government against Chinese dissidents?” No solid evidence has been released to confirm or deny these hacks and the supposed targets, though.

    3. Google as the world’s largest company? C’mon. Seriously?

    BUT, all that aside, onto your open thread.

    I strongly support Google and their stance against the Chinese censorship. They are big, and they can take that stand. I agree that they should. And since A LOT (or most) of the great functionality in the Android OS sits on Google platforms, if Google pulls out of China, that’ll leave a lot of neutered phones. That is, unless China Unicorn works their asses off to throw in replacement software.

    My $0.02

  4. Since when was Yahoo! Google related? If this was the first time I ever visited this site I would label it as unreliable and look at it again.

  5. @ John
    He’s not saying that Yahoo! is Google-related. Read the article again. He’s saying that Yahoo! and Bing would stand to gain if Google backed out of China.

  6. I agree with you Rob, Google can’t seem to make up their mind on how much control over Android they have. At one point they didn’t seem to want to be tied to it, around the Cupcake era but now they seem to want full control? Google are free to do whatever they like with their stuff, China is of little relevance to me right now, but their actions in regards to Android in China do seem a little hypocritical. However, I would advise them to leave China alone!

  7. @john

    what in the world are you talking about. the article never said that they are related (other than the fact that they are both huge search engines). and they were in fact related from 2001 and 2004 (yahoo! search was powered by google).

  8. @b. murphy… actually, sir, you are incorrect. While google does censor, it does not censor, which is blocked by the Chinese government. Youtube (owned by google) is also blocked for long periods of time so the Chinese people cannot access it (usually around sensitive times like the Tiananmen Square anniversary and other times, but also just whenever the government feels like it). And on your second statement, Google knows exactly who the targets were, because Google hacked them right back. A few were in fact human rights activists, and many others were foreign businesses. This is all published and readily available information.

  9. @ kevin and pieter, it does actually say that in the article. “but couldn’t they launch the devices without Google Search, Google Maps, GMail, Yahoo and all the Google-related features?”

  10. Can a fly move an tree? Google is dispensable and replaceable. China isn’t.

  11. @ Terran
    Thanks for pointing that out. I’m betting that’s not what Rob meant to say, but was poor word order. I’m sure Pieter and I were both considering the earlier statement when Rob states: “I think Google is doing a great thing, but it also opens up the door for Microsoft’s Bing or Yahoo to capitalize on the huge Chinese population using their search engine’s instead…”

    More to the point of the discussion…Could Google spark some sort of Chinese Revolution.

    Point 1-Google is well-known to everyone who is online, event he Chinese. If Google and China can’t resolve their differences, and Google sticks to their principles and pulls out, many noticable changes will occur. Google runs a venerable Search Engine, a host of Online Services (Google Docs, GMail, Calendar, Voice, etc.), a solid Web Browser, an Operating System, and supports the entire Android framework. Take those things away, and the average Chinese person may begin to wonder what caused the void. Sure, the void can in large part be filled, but it’s the QUESTION that may drive the population to seek the truth. And despite the Great Firewall of China, outside information will find its way into the country.

    It could create mistrust and resentment of the Chinese Government. And, like a single domino (and I’m being realistic, Google is just a domino compared to the country of China), it could cause a chain reaction. But it depends if that domino is lined up next to another domino. If not, then Google falls in China, and that is the end of the story.

  12. @Matt Wicker, it is so strange that why do you say “ is blocked by the Chinese government”? If you want to say something to China or other community, and if you also have some time, please go to the country, listen with you ears, look with your eyes, and tell the truth, both the bad news and good news.This will be convincingly.

  13. I say give China Android, after all it’s open to anyone… just turn off and let them use regular like other countries.
    If China decides to filter then it’s their own choice.

    Bing and Yahoo will eventually have the same problem with China if they take over the Chinese search market.

  14. @ kevin, is it very possible. if google does pull all the stops and completely backs out of china entirely, I hope other businesses follow this example. just think what would happen if all the major companies stated above pulled out of china. it would send a HUGE message. unfortunately my gut tells me this won’t happen and they will be stuck with the same restrictions on information.

  15. In china,lots people kown how to cross the GFW and the GFW can’t keep all thing out of China’s Internet.
    the GFW is not so powerful , people can find many ways to cross it to access youtube ..twitter..and some elses,the real google fans won’t leave google.
    but it’s a problem to cross the gfw on the android device…if my htc magic can’t connect god..

    I’m a Chinese,my English is not very well.sorry..

  16. the statement “organize the world’s information” makes me think of the Riddler in Batman. “If information is power, then I am a GOD.”
    Maybe Google has a god complex? Hmmmmm…

  17. The fact that google gave in to the demands of the Chinese government was a mistake int he first place. Should businesses (and indeed governments) turn a blind eye to the terrible human rights record the country has in order to tap in to the market. China needs business, it needs the foreign investment.

    I say well done google, I hope other follow suit.

    With regard to Android, really they should let that be released just without google stuff on it. A fair solution.

  18. “we know how google feels about censorship”. too bad their feelings dont out weigh their want for market. google is indeed in china. and it does censor things like “constitution” and who knows what else. dont worry america, we will be next to join the censorship club. know why? rich people want to control us and know information about us. and they will get, ALL OF IT. sooner or later. because they own the fuckin place and no one will stand up to them…

  19. I don’t think Google does not censor its contents for other countries. As I know Google in other country will actively HELP the other country government, e.g. give some private data of some people. But why just fell bad in China? In fact, most of the Chinese people very very love Google, but that is not to say Google can “Do Evil” in China. If Google is a responsible company, please serve/assist with your best. But if it is not, back is also Ok, Baidu and Bing is also a best search engine.

  20. IMO, Google is not the only one that wants to stop Google-experience phone from launching in China. So does the China’s government. (to stop the propaganda of Google’s “dont be evil” statement, and also a great opportunity to promote their home-brewed Search engine & apps.) So, Unicom is probably just conforming to both parties by not launching Android phone.

    The launch will only be postponed until Moto & Samsung finds alternative to Google Experience apps. Google just don’t have power to stop Android from launching in China, because Android is Open Source! Unless Google or OHA decided to add a restriction of “Open only to country with Freedom of Speech like USA”.

    However, a question still bothers me. Doesn’t Google knew about all these censoring when they enter the market? Why bother to object now? because of Hacking? I doubt China is the ONLY place that Google got hacked… This makes me think Google has a second agenda on their back.

    Besides, it’s never wise to put/force your own Value on someone else’s culture. That’s what causes the war and conflict in the past and now, isn’t it?

    I dont think Chinese government gonna change unless a revolution begin. So, is Google stirring a civil war? Or they just don’t understand China’s position. China used the same tactic to stabilize China since their last civil war, and i doubt they will put that to risk due to Google.

  21. Sorry, I did not really read that well.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in News