Tiananmen

Ten things Google has found to be true My comments in italics.

1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.

By always placing the interests of the user first, Google has built the most loyal audience on the web. And that growth has come not through TV ad campaigns, but through word of mouth from one satisfied user to another.

Perhaps it isn’t important that 1,306,313,812 potential Google users probably aren’t very happy with their search results.

2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.

As we continue to build new products* while making search better, our hope is to bring the power of search to previously unexplored areas, and to help users access and use even more of the ever-expanding information in their lives.

*By government approval only.

3. Fast is better than slow.

Google believes in instant gratification. You want answers and you want them right now. Who are we to argue? Google may be the only company in the world whose stated goal is to have users leave its website as quickly as possible. By fanatically obsessing on shaving every excess bit and byte from our pages and increasing the efficiency of our serving environment, Google has broken its own speed records time and again. Others assumed large servers were the fastest way to handle massive amounts of data. Google found networked PCs to be faster. Where others accepted apparent speed limits imposed by search algorithms, Google wrote new algorithms that proved there were no limits. And Google continues to work on making it all go even faster.

I wonder how much Google’s vaunted speed is hindered by the Chinese national firewall?

4. Democracy on the web works.

Google works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting websites to determine which other sites offer content of value…This technique actually improves as the web gets bigger, as each new site is another point of information and another vote to be counted.

Apparently freedom of exchange is not a vital value in a democracy, however.

5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

But you do need Big Brother’s ok.

6. You can make money without doing evil.

Not anymore, apparently.

7. There’s always more information out there.

If you can find it.

8. The need for information crosses all borders.

Though Google is headquartered in California, our mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world, so we have offices around the globe. To that end we maintain dozens of Internet domains and serve more than half of our results to users living outside the United States. Google search results can be restricted to pages written in more than 35 languages according to a user’s preference. We also offer a translation feature to make content available to users regardless of their native tongue and for those who prefer not to search in English, Google’s interface can be customized into more than 100 languages. To accelerate the addition of new languages, Google offers volunteers the opportunity to help in the translation through an automated tool available on the Google.com website. This process has greatly improved both the variety and quality of service we’re able to offer users in even the most far flung corners of the globe.

So why are you not taking a stand against the Chinese government and fighting for free access to information for the Chinese populace? Why, if you are a “people’s” company, are you willing to cave to demands which restrict the validity of your content?

9. You can be serious without a suit.

Google’s founders have often stated that the company is not serious about anything but search…Give the proper tools to a group of people who like to make a difference, and they will.

Google is also apparently serious about expanding markets, even if that means some users don’t have the tools they need to make a difference.

10. Great just isn’t good enough.

Always deliver more than expected. Google does not accept being the best as an endpoint, but a starting point. Through innovation and iteration, Google takes something that works well and improves upon it in unexpected ways. Search works well for properly spelled words, but what about typos? One engineer saw a need and created a spell checker that seems to read a user’s mind. It takes too long to search from a WAP phone? Our wireless group developed Google Number Search to reduce entries from three keystrokes per letter to one. With a user base in the millions, Google is able to identify points of friction quickly and smooth them out. Google’s point of distinction however, is anticipating needs not yet articulated by our global audience, then meeting them with products and services that set new standards. This constant dissatisfaction with the way things are is ultimately the driving force behind the world’s best search engine.

I’m sure that spell checker comes in handy for filtering search results on google.cn

This decision to comply with the Chinese government is not the Google I know, and this is not the Google I stood behind. Google has shown itself in the past to be a fearless leader in the quest for information, risking lawsuits over novel methods of getting search results to users. What’s going on?

This is what you see on google.cn when you do an image search for tiananmen. This is what you see when you search on google.com. Do you think there’s a problem here?

[Google]