Google China Now a Fake Search Box Page, Directing Users To Hong Kong

Jun 29, 2010 • 8:40 am | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine
 

In March, Google began redirecting Google.CN to Google.com.hk in order not to censor the Chinese search results anymore. Well, China isn't happy with that, they simply do not want their Chinese users to get unfiltered results.

Google has been threatened by China that if they don't stop redirecting users, they will take away Google's license to operate in China. Google caved - they want to still operate in China, although they said they don't want to operate there - it is confusing, you see.

So now, some people who go to Google.CN are being send to a special landing page at http://www.google.cn/landing/cnexp/indexd.html. This landing page will soon become the default at Google.CN. The landing page is one huge link that when clicked, takes you to Google Hong Kong. Technically, it is not a redirect, but to a user, it does seem deceptive on how the implementation was done.

It appears that you are clicking in a search box to do your query. But when you click, you are redirected to Google Hong Kong. That seems deceptive to me. Google should man up and leave China and stop playing games. If they want to stay in China, then deal with it, filter the results and stay. But to do it this way, just seems wrong to me.

Google China Landing Page

What do you think? Yes, it says Google.com.hk but it just seems way confusing for the user. And isn't Google all about making it best and not confusing for the user?

Forum discussion at Google Blogoscoped Forums and WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

No Name

06/29/2010 01:25 pm

Without being contradictory. I think that Google should be applauded for their approach in China. They could have shirked responsibility and retreated when someone in China, Chinese authorities most likely, hacked into Google's systems and tried to access the email accounts of human rights activists. Instead they took a stand and refused to censor search results any longer and began redirecting users to their Hong Kong service. Now that the authorities have said they will not accept this, they have found an alternative method that will hopefully allow them to skirt the law. Google leaving the Chinese market would be the easy thing to do, not the honest thing. They have stood up on the world stage and said we won't bend backwards and keep the largest, single population in the dark any more. In order to do this, they have gambled on whether the authorities will accept the new deal or remove their licence to operate in the world's largest, emerging market. If anything they should be applauded, not subject to trivial denunciation. You are basically advocating that rather than be a little bit sneaky in they way they operate and try to free a billion people from blanket censorship and government control, they should stay silent and let it happen. So whilst I understand your point, I think the bigger picture dictates that I can't agree with the sentiment.

newsjunkie

06/29/2010 02:59 pm

What's the status of http://www.google.com in China?

Colin

06/29/2010 03:59 pm

Would you class that as a doorway page?

Mark

06/29/2010 05:28 pm

Cmon really? Google is a US based company and is willfully breaking a law in another country. Regardless of their reason for breaking the law, or whether you and I like the laws, its still a broken law. Who decides which laws are OK to break and which arent? Google? You or I? What happens when GooG decides it doesn't like US privacy laws? (I know, thats a joke) In this case, Google has said one thing: We feel SO STRONG about human rights, we are going to violate your laws and help your citizens get around them... ... but if you cut off the commerce to our company, we will stop! By changing the redirect, Google just took a human rights issue, and in one click, turned it into a money issue. Guess they don't really feel THAT STRONGLY about it, that they are willing to cut all services that bring income to them? Here's an idea... take every penny that is generated from a China IP number and donate it to a human rights group that works to change things.

Alistair

06/29/2010 10:30 pm

I find it odd that the redirect is being done in script and not just a standard form. Why not just have the search box send the form values to google.co.hk like you can do on any Google search domain?

ipollesion

06/30/2010 12:12 am

Way to stick it to the man Google! This reminds me of when a single man stood in front of many tanks in protest to what he saw was happening in in his own country. Wish everyone cared about their freedoms. If you lose your license don't worry... we all see what you did.

Shailendra Sial

06/30/2010 05:21 am

This is an idiotic decision by Google which will further provoke China to take some strict action

Peebus

07/01/2010 09:10 am

The real issue is that Google's obligation to shareholders is to maximize profits, not to change foreign governments. As noble as their desires may be, this is the first amateur move I've seen Google make in all the years I've supported them. They should save face, having already made their point on a worldwide stage, and go back to complying with Chinese law. Let China deal with the heat for their censorship, not the Google shareholders.

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