One of the ways urbandictionary.com defines "sellout" is to alienate core fans by changing one's style to appeal to a broader audience -- and becoming what one's fans were rebelling against in the first place. The U.S. government wanted search history to help fight child porn and Google said no way, to cheers from their Big Brother-hating constituency. But for its search service in China, Google caved to the communists, removing offending results for "Human Rights" and "Things that are Democratic." Tough choice. Founder Sergey Brin is quoted by Fortune as saying, "it will be better for Chinese Web users, because ultimately they would get more information, though not quite all of it." There will be no staring down tanks in Tiananmen Square.
Google could have kept their cool and trusted image if they'd just worked with someone else in China, someone they could smash. Eggroll.com powered by Google. Someone else to blame for those unsearchable keywords. Users in the West may not desert them, but a billion soon-to-be-online Chinese will forever associate Google with lame and censored results -- search tools of the state. That's just dumb. And totally uncool. [Wall Street Journal here]
And this in the New York Sun;
Googling the Great Firewall: Google Kowtowed to Communist Censorship