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Google Censorship China Your Rights Online

Google Highlights Censored Search Terms In China 99

Posted by Soulskill
from the websearch-sunlight-project dept.
itwbennett writes "Responding to complaints from Chinese Googlers that the search engine is 'inconsistent and unreliable,' Google has updated its service to help users steer clear of search queries that will result in page errors. Google will now highlight characters and phrases that are likely to 'break' a user's connection. 'By prompting people to revise their queries, we hope to reduce these disruptions and improve our user experience from mainland China,' the company said in a blog post."
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Google Highlights Censored Search Terms In China

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  • Re:Hidden censorship (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @11:49AM (#40180849)

    Hw are they hiding it? They're blatantly pointing out that users shouldn't use terms least they be disconnected or run into censorship, even for common things that they might not have thought of before. Now youll probably get a warning for something when you weren't even remotely looking for something subversive.

  • by johnjaydk (584895) on Friday June 01, 2012 @11:54AM (#40180893)

    If You read TFA then You will see that this service actually HIGHLIGHTS the censorship process.

    IMHO that's doing the right thing.

  • Re:Hidden censorship (Score:5, Informative)

    by jonnythan (79727) on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:16PM (#40181129) Homepage

    It's not Google doing the censoring. Apparently China interferes somehow with connections that are caught searching for various terms. Google now highlights certain words and pops up a notice that it has observed these words may break your connection.

  • Re:Hidden censorship (Score:5, Informative)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:17PM (#40181139) Homepage Journal

    From TFS:

    Responding to complaints from Chinese Googlers that the search engine is 'inconsistent and unreliable,' Google has updated its service to help users steer clear of search queries that will result in page errors. Google will now highlight characters and phrases that are likely to 'break' a user's connection.

    My reading of that is that Google is being censored, not that Google is censoring as otherwise not a word in it makes sense.

    If Google were censoring, then the search engine would work normally, it's just certain search results would not appear. So a search for "Tienanmen Square Massacre" would come up with pages of results of, say, Fred Tienanmen's blog entry where he massacres those proposing that squares have the same sized sides, but would be absent anything about some funny business that occurred in China during the 1980s.

    That's not what's happening though. What TFS is saying is that users are suffering random page errors, that the engine feels "inconsistent and unreliable". That's consistent with a third party, say, perhaps, the Great Firewall of China, interrupting page downloads as they happen because they have naughty words on them.

  • by oakgrove (845019) on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:31PM (#40181323)

    sure, they help you avoid the chinese knowing what you are searching for. but you still can't search for it!

    Why do people run their mouths when they have no idea what they are talking about? As can be plainly seen in this screenshot [blogcdn.com], it is quite clear that you can search for it by simply clicking the "search anyway" link. Google is just being helpful and letting you know that you are probably going to not be able to get much of a response and it is out of their control.

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