Google are usually never that far away from the technology news, especially from those of us who work in the world of search. Usually, algorithm updates and penalties are high on the order of discussion amongst us SEO’s, but when Google hits the mainstream news it’s rarely over something small.
So, when a big company such as Google comes up against a country like China, it’s pretty certain to make the news. The issue: Censorship. There are many views and opinions on censorship in general, over recent years there have been calls for it with regards to video games, films and music. Many would argue that censorship for such media isn’t a bad idea and both sides can fight a good case for and against. With search results, though, it’s a different ball game.
China has a well-documented filtered and censored Internet and it was their intention for this to continue when Google entered the Chinese market. Google have today decided that they will not censor their results and as a result have placed a re-direct on their Chinese Google search site that re-directs users to their Hong Kong service. The Hong Kong service is not censored, but if accessed from China it will be censored through China’s own Firewall, it looks from afar that this more of a final shot across the bow in the face of censorship than anything else. Moving away from China obviously cuts down on the potential market for Google, but by making a stand they may have started a stand against any further censorship of the web, only time will tell.
In other news, Google have also won their high court case against Luis Vuitton. Five years ago those over at LVMH launched a case against Google, saying that by allowing people to bid on their brand terms through AdWords they were breaching copyright. The French courts agreed, but today the EU European Court of Justice ruled that “Google has not infringed trade mark law by allowing advertisers to purchase keywords corresponding to their competitors’ trade marks”. Good news for Google and all of those intent on bidding on their competitors terms, something we think Gordon Brown should take a little bit more notice of!