Another timely and insightful reality check from Nicholas Carr; read the full post
Google's overriding business goal is to encourage us to devote more of our time and entrust more of our personal information to the Internet, particularly to the online computing cloud that is displacing the PC hard drive as the center of personal computing. The more that we use the Net, the more Google learns about us, the more frequently it shows us its ads, and the more money it makes. In order to continue to expand the time people spend online, Google and other Internet companies have to make the Net feel like a safe, well-protected space. If our trust in the Web is undermined in any way, we’ll retreat from the network and seek out different ways to communicate, compute, and otherwise store and process data. The consequences for Google's business would be devastating.
However important the Chinese market may be to Google, in either the short or the long term, it is less important than maintaining the integrity of the Net as a popular medium for information exchange. Like many other Western companies, Google has shown that it is willing to compromise its ideals in order to reach Chinese consumers. What it’s not willing to compromise is the security of the cloud, on which its entire business rests.