Well, that took less time than expected. This week, Google cofounder Sergey Brin admitted that his company compromised its "don't be evil" mantra when it bowed to pressure from the Chinese government and censored the Chinese version of its Web site. However, Brin's mea culpa wasn't followed by a reversal of that decision: As of today, Google is continuing to censor its Web site in China. But Brin hinted that Google might reverse course.
"We felt that perhaps we could compromise our principles but provide ultimately more information for the Chinese and be a more effective service and perhaps make more of a difference," Brin said during a meeting with reporters on Tuesday. "Perhaps now the principled approach makes more sense." He described the Chinese government's requirements as "a set of rules that we weren't comfortable with."
The timing of Brin's comments might not be coincidental. This week, China began blocking several of Google's nonsearch services, including Google Mail (Gmail) and Google News. Now, Google is reportedly considering pulling out of China completely. What a notion. Perhaps it's something the company should have considered a year ago, when it agreed to comply with a human-rights-challenged government and censor its own Web site.