Some interesting reader analysis in response to recent Google/China-related posts by James Fallows – excerpt:
Google could never possibly be allowed to win in China, and they knew it.
Internet search and analytics companies today have more access to high quality, real-time information about people, places and events, and more ability to filter, aggregate, and analyze it than any government agency, anywhere ever. Maybe the NSA can encrypt it better and process it faster but it lacks ability to collect the high value data - the stuff that satellites can't see. The things people think but don't say. The things people do but don't say. All documented in excruciating detail, each event tagged with location, precise time. Every word you type, every click you make (how many sites do you visit have google ads, or analytics?), Google is watching you - and learning. It's their business to. This fact has yet to sink in on the general public in the US, but it has not gone un-noticed by the Chinese government.
The Chinese government wants unfettered access to all of that information. Google, defending its long-term brand equity, cannot give its data to the Chinese government. Baidu, on the other hand, would and does...
Read the full response and ponder the bigger-picture implications