Barely three months after effectively pulling the plug on Google.cn by committing to stop censoring search results as required by Chinese law, Google is rethinking its position. Instead of automatically redirecting users in mainland China to Google.hk, the company has posted a "we have moved" message on Google.cn so that users have to click on the link to Google.hn themselves.
The Wall Street Journal reports Google made the adjustment in an effort save its license as an Internet service provider in China without compromising its commitment to end censorship. But it's unclear whether the change will be enough to appease the Chinese government to the point that officials will renew Google's Internet license. Neither a spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology nor a foreign ministry representative was willing to comment directly on the issue.
Reaction from Google users in China is quite varied. The more tech savvy shrug off the change as nothing, but others seem to be exchanging their enthusiasm for the company with scorn. One comment on a Chinese microblogging site reportedly said:
If you want to leave, just leave!
If that's not enough, observers in the United States are fed up with Google's wavering ways. As the friend of a friend said earlier today:
Eventually, they'll have to decide whether they're going to stick to their moral compass, or give up and capitulate completely. There won't be a middle ground.