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The Internet

Chinese Sites Band Together To Counter Google 305

egoff writes "The China Search Alliance is a coalition of over 200 Chinese internet portals that have joined together to try to capture the Chinese search market before Google can "invade." Started by China.com.cn, an official government portal, the CSA has now expanded to include mainly commercial, non-governmental, Chinese sites. According to Guangzhou-based New Express News, Google has already approached several Chinese firms about forming a partnership. Being that it started in the government, this looks like a tool for greater control while appearing to be in open competition with Google."
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Chinese Sites Band Together To Counter Google

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  • by pizzaman100 ( 588500 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:16PM (#5688605) Journal
    You're only going to see what the government wants you to see.
    • Not if google has a chance to "invade". I'm guessing that's part of what the China Search Alliance is about.
    • I agree, that's the crux, a search engine controlling (by the government) access to information. Where as here we have corporates controlling the government and media, and Google calling corporate press releases news... Hmmmmmmmmm
    • Anonymous Coward may be a bigot, but he's right that the government won't play fairly, and will try to censor any search engine they're part of, and will interfere if Google tries to provide real search capabilities (as they've already been doing.) However, it's hard to keep search engines from finding things, and the more competition there is, the harder it is to keep people from finding the things they're looking for. A peer-to-peer search engine network, if somebody finds a good way to build one of the
  • by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:18PM (#5688614) Homepage
    As long as they stop spamming the world, thankyouverymuch.
    • I hear they are going to call it "Googer"
  • we have no right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thesadjester ( 87558 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:19PM (#5688619)
    It is their country. They can do what they want really. If they want to disallow the usage of google even, that IS their right.

    We also have the right never to use their search engines.

    Aren't rights wonderful? Eventually they'll become more capitalistic. By allowing them to create their own technologies to do so we allow them to create superior products theoretically...and if they have a superior search engine eventually, they'll want to sell it to americans. Capitalism keeps the world going round and round..that or Newton's law of universal gravitation...not sure which :).

    • by Erris ( 531066 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:27PM (#5688687) Homepage Journal
      It is their country. They can do what they want really.

      If you believe that, you have no rights. If you believe that there are no limits to government, obviously anything the government wants to do is OK with you. It's no more true than any two people have the right to kill a third. You have natural rights, one of which is to say and read what you will. It takes positive government action to interfere with that right. Because all governments are supported by the efforts of their people, those that violate natural rights are considered abusive wasters of resources. Abusive governments only exist when you let them and you would let them.

    • If rights are not innate, regardless of culture then they don't exist. A right is something that can be restricted as punishment for a crime, but cannot be taken away. You can take away a felon's right to own a gun during his punishment period, but not so when it is over. If you believe that we can't judge them because they're different, you can't judge anyone's actions or views because you embrace moral relativism. Your opinion is no better, or more right then mine or theirs. Meaning who are you to judge t
    • It is their country. They can do what they want really.

      Well now that's the sticky part now, isn't it? Who is "they"? In this case, "they" is the government, and not necessarily the people who live with the decision "they" make. If there was a vote and 80% (or something) of the population voted in favor of blacklisting Google, then fine. Go for it. But the real issue here is that it is the government deciding that its people should not be allowed to access a given resource, namely Google. And that is what

      • Okay, I'm a tard, and wasn't paying attention when I replied. My own messed up head combined with a bratty pug puppy made me do it! Anyway, I did not RTFSPVC (Read The F...ing Slashdot Posting Very Closely), so just ignore the above. Thanks.
    • You're confusing the political right of a country with the individual rights of individual citizens of that country. The world is full of people living in former colonies who made the same mistake, usually to their chagrin. (What good is living in a "free" country if you can't exercise your rights?)

      China -- the sovereign country -- has an established record of blocking and manipulating internet access, including search engines like Google. The government of China does this because it is an illegitimate t
    • "It is their country."

      If by "they" you mean "China's communist party," then you're right. If you instead meant "the people of China," you are wrong on many levels.

      "We also have the right never to use their search engines"

      But they do not have the right to use alternatives.

      "Aren't rights wonderful?"

      Only when you have them. "National sovereignty" is a legal fiction that is based on (and should take a back seat to) personal sovereignty. A government has no rights except those granted to it by the p
    • Who is "they"? Really, who has rights? Governments? People?

      It's easy to make a bad argument when you throw out important distinctions.
  • by Istealmymusic ( 573079 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:19PM (#5688620) Homepage Journal
    If you can't join them, beat them.

    Now that Google has a serious competitor (due to the enormous population of China), it will try to improve to compete fairly. So will the China search system.

    As much as I like Google, it has a monopoly on non-suckiness of search engines. If China's search can compete, unfairly or fairly, it won't be a mere arms race - only good can come of this.

    This is a good thing for everyone.

    • If China's search can compete, unfairly or fairly, it won't be a mere arms race - only good can come of this.

      But will they compete, or will they block Google from the country once their search engine is large enough?
      • They may try, but there are several opposions:
        • Circumvention: Technically-minded users will be able to use http caches, ssh tunnels, open WinGates, and whatnot to defeat the block. History has shown that if people really want to get to a site, they will. Admittedly, proxying your connection slows it down significantly, and few Chinese are likely to use Google for their everyday search engine for this very reason. On the other hand, China is home to some skilled hackers.
        • Public Opinion: If the China sear
    • Interesting... (Score:2, Interesting)

      "If China's search can compete, unfairly or fairly..."

      Well, perhaps the government can force their search engine upon the people but is this really competition? If the Chinese people aren't allowed to choose their search engine, then there's no competition because Google isn't in the market. And who is to know whether the Chinese engine will be any good? I'd have more faith in the development efforts of Microsoft, who have an established track record of hiring the best people to develop their products or

      • Even if Google is blocked, its a mere casualty in the war of the search engines. Sure, its the best, but there are countless search engines amongst the World Wide Web. If China aggressively makes their search engine be the best in the nation, it will give engines like Yahoo! (who wants to become the next Google), Teoma, and Metacrawler a distinct advantage over Google. As a result, I predict each engine will improve to the point of a singularity, and we won't end up with One Great Engine (Google), but rathe
        • Okay, then I am not following your point at all. Weren't you saying that by mainland China's entrance into the search engine game, Google would have competition? From what you've said in your reply, you're claiming that because of other search engines Google will be forced to get better. I agree with this as no search engine rules forever. I just don't see how you think mainland China is going to influence this?

          I don't think they will have much of an impact because their people are going to be cut off and t

    • If the Chinese government competes unfairly, Google is screwed. They can't compete successfully and fairly with a government that's competing unfairly (and they all will, given the chance).

      Besides: you have to show Google can improve before you can say something will cause it to improve. There is such a thing as a perfect tool.
    • As much as I like Google, it has a monopoly on non-suckiness of search engines.

      The thing here is that Google has it's "monopoly" because it doesn't suck. Because they *aren't* evil, and they *aren't* exploiting their position to fuck us all over. For all intents and purposes, they got to be what they are by giving us exactly what we wanted.

      You should thank them, not call them evil for their own popularity.
  • Sure.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ELCarlsson ( 570500 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:19PM (#5688621)
    Sure and next you'll be telling me Yahoo! thinks they'll be able to take out Google.
  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by David_Bloom ( 578245 ) <slashdot@3lesson.org> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:20PM (#5688630) Homepage
    If they want to beat Google as a fast, lightweight, and powerful search tool, they probably should kill those Flash banner ads...
  • Gov't Interference (Score:2, Insightful)

    by melangeboi ( 664072 )
    It's really sad to see a country actively rescrict access to information on the web. The Internet is supposed to be a forum for the exchange of ideas not the exchange of government approved propaganda. I guess politicians fear what they cannot control and 'give to the people.'

  • interference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:21PM (#5688633) Homepage
    I'm theorizing that, if the Chinese government indeed builds a search portal that can compete with Google, their next step will be to keep Google's spiders from traversing the Chinese networks. This would cripple Google's ability to grow and update, and knock them out of the running.
  • competition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by suhit ( 171059 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:21PM (#5688634) Homepage
    This is good news for the consumers of course. With more people researching better search technologies, like this Chinese Search Alliance, like Yahoo announced a couple of days ago about trying to better it's search engine, and Microsoft trying to get into the search market, the products are only going to get better (*hopefully*).

    But there is no substitute for now - Google rocks! I especially love Google Labs [google.com].
  • Over-reactive (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Coplan ( 13643 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:22PM (#5688642) Homepage Journal
    Google has a corner on the market. Yeah? Big deal! If you're Yahoo or Lycos or AOL, I could imagine why you'd be upset.

    But a bunch of portal sites organized with the Chinese Government?

    What benefit do they have? What are they afraid of? I could understand if they wanted to have a Chinese-only search-bot. But even still, there's little point in that. That limits your resources drastically.

    • Re:Over-reactive (Score:3, Informative)

      Bear in mind that the chinese goverment - beeing a tad more leftwing than most others - have a history of trying to 'guide' what their people see, read and think. We're talking about the same goverment that demands that internet-cafes log every site their customers look at. We're talking about the same goverment that has - in the past - blocked off entire subnets where they have found sites that are critical of the aforementioned chinese goverment. We are - when we get down to it - talking of the same gover

      • Re:Over-reactive (Score:4, Insightful)

        by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:02PM (#5689431)
        beeing a tad more leftwing than most others

        I wouldn't describe them as "leftwing"; a better word would be "totalitarian", but since Mao's death it's really just been "authoritarian" with strong socialist underpinnings. It hasn't been a true communist state for some time (though it's nowhere near to being a proper capitalist state).

        From what I've read and been told (college history class, etc.), the attitude of the Chinese government can be oversimplified as one of extreme distrust over any mass medium or mass *movement* that they don't control. Tiannamen is the most famous case, but the Falun Gong and indeed any sort of religion are persecuted because they represent popular organization that isn't managed by the government. When Zhou Enlai (China's most famous Communist leader other than Mao - very interesting person) died, many people were genuinely distraught and held a spontaneous wake in Beijing. The government broke it up, because it wasn't under their control. I think the Internet appears the same way to them.

        That's just my opinion, but a Chinese coworker thought it made sense when I explained it to him.
  • Those of us who are old enough to remember when the Berlin Wall crumbled in 1990 know to credit Ronald Reagan with killing Communism.

    However, nobody knew that the Communist government of China, just as nimble as it was repressive, would be able to exploit its immense pool of cheap labor to remain a powerful force through the dawn of the 21st century.

    But now we are seeing that power crumble. As Altavista, Lycos, and Yahoo realized in the late 1990s, it is impossible to become the best search engine port

    • No, thats almost completely wrong.

      The crumbling search engines you referred to crumbled because they have to make a profit. Read that again : the commercial sites MUST MAKE A PROFIT or they die - and the Internet is littered with such remains.

      Portal/Search sites run by the Chinese (government) don't need to make a profit. They don't need to create a competitive PRODUCT, they can run without banner ads, without sponsorship, and without anyone paying for page rank. As long as they get their money from the g
      • They could potentially put up sites which
        provide a better service to the public than
        commercial sites such as Google because they don't
        have the commercial baggage and clutter and
        demands from shareholders.


        Google doesn't have any shareholders.
        Google is a privately owned company.
        Google is the master of its own fate (as much as
        any company can be in this modern age).

        Just thought you'd like to know.
    • consumerism bankrupt Russia before it did the USA. USA-style FreeMarket(TM) capitalism just hasnt quite collapsed in America yet...
    • Those of us who are old enough to remember when the Berlin Wall crumbled in 1990 know to credit Ronald Reagan with killing Communism.

      Uhh, no. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the eastern bloc communist states had much more to do with Gorbachev and the untenable nature of a command economy than Ronald Reagan. As romantic as it is to believe his "tear down this wall" speech was a determining factor, it really wasn't. If you're looking for heroes in this arena, try Lech Walesa first.

      • the untenable nature of a command economy

        To be fair, it seems probable that Reagan hastened the fall, but I've never believed that the outcome was planned that way or that America's fiscal irresponsibility during those years was appropriate. One thing I read recently pointed out that Reagan's most lasting contribution was emphasizing human rights in the Soviet bloc, which apparently really did encourage the many dissidents over there like Vaclav Havel. (Ironic given Reagan's abominable track record on h
      • This is bullshit. Every decade after WW2 saw at least one country fall to communism, except one: the 80s. Reagan's decade. Are you saying that's a coincidence?
  • wonderful (Score:5, Funny)

    by BlueLines ( 24753 ) <slashdot AT divisionbyzero DOT com> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:26PM (#5688681) Homepage
    and thanks to the government, i can find both of the websites about aids [chinasearch.com.cn]
    this is just scary.
    -BlueLines
    • And, in case you didn't notice, both results are the same URL. That brings the grand total to ONE AIDS site in the entire country of China, at least according to this search engine.
    • Re:wonderful (Score:4, Informative)

      by Xerithane ( 13482 ) <xerithaneNO@SPAMnerdfarm.org> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:40PM (#5688795) Homepage Journal
      I'm sure that if you did a search in Chinese you would get more results. Although I'm not sure if they have a character for the disease... I don't know anything about Chinese, really.

      I do know that if you try searching for something in English on a Japanese search engine, you don't get that many results. Write it in katakana (Japanese characters used to write foreign words) and you get the real results.
      • Re:wonderful (Score:2, Informative)

        by niklaus ( 139415 )
        The chinese word for AIDS is (ai4zi1bing4), searching for which brings up 588 entries, like for example www.aids.net.cn or www.aidsonline.com.cn. Probably still not as much as appropriate, but better than one.
    • If I select the third option in the dropdown next to the search box, I get a bunch of English-language sites with the same search phrase. The dropdown probably lets you select the language or region to search (I don't know Chinese).
    • They are both the same link... to a pharmaceutical company, with no relavant and useful information.
    • It's even worse, both of those hits are for the same site!
  • by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:29PM (#5688699)
    Search term: Falun Gong

    Stay where you are. We'll send some representatives to explain in person.

  • Granted we have our own big-brother issues, but at least we get to access Google. =)
  • So soon I can choose between searching from a text based site or searching from a gazillian image pop-up based site with redirecting links to "larger penis size" or "bigger breastess"

    hmmm... difficult choice...
  • Why not just block Google? If you're the Chinese government, it's not like you're worried about people being angry about being unable to search with Google. Just forward your own inferior solution - no need for competition when you control the medium with an iron fist.
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @05:46PM (#5688836) Journal
    because the Chinese communists don't care to have any entity in their country that can reach masses of people without their communist stamp of approval. Hell they can just chop off access to Google through the great Chinese Firewall.

    This need to put the communist stamp of approval on everything exists everywhere. For instance Catholics in China cannot be loyal to the Pope, he qualifies as a foreign entity. Plus we have already seen the Chinese kidnap the Tibetan Panchen Lama with hopes of replacing him with one that will be sympathetic to the Communists.

    Speaking of the Chinese and competition one must be skeptical since the government will always put those things that aren't officially sanctioned in a position of disadvantage (blocking it access for example)
  • ... will apply the Chinese Army Techique [catb.org]?
  • Well, actually I went to that site. I put these words into the text area: Falun Gong, pressed Enter. Once the first search page came up with some results, I just pressed Enter again (FALUN+GONG was already in the text area) and I got 'this page cannot be displayed' message. I tried it a few times, same results. I must note that I am accessing that page from my computer at work and it is a WinNT station with IE 5.5 and all ActiveX controls and scripting disabled.
    • Re:FALUN+GONG (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CausticWindow ( 632215 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @06:44PM (#5689302)

      I typed "Falun Gong", pressed enter, and got lots of results. All of them negative towards the Falun Gong Cult, mind you.

      Hit number 4: "The Falun Gong cult misled me into killing my beloved uncle"

      I repeated the test with Google, only this time, I searched for "Scientology". Pressing "Feeling Lucky" brought me right to the CoS homepage (and not to xenu.net, like it used to do).

      So, to sum up:

      • China: no links to the cult, only anti-cult links.
      • US: Links to the cult, links to anti-cult information supressed thanks to copyright issues

      Seems to me that even though the tools for censorship are quite different, they are in place indeed.

  • by ramzak2k ( 596734 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @06:07PM (#5688954)
    Search for Hotmail on that thing [210.72.21.218] .. :)

  • so search for "search engine" on MSN (as other /. posters have done) and you will find that google.com is not in the first page of results.

    What were you saying about censorship again?
  • Didn't the Chineese govermnment actually try to sue Google at one point for use of Chineese characters or some such - claiming that they had such stuff copyrighted??

    Looks like more of the same game to control their populace to me.
  • People will use whatever search engine they think is best. It makes zero diffrence if you can access your favorite search from one place, or 200.

    Unless the chinese outright ban google after proclaming their solution 'better', this won't affect them at all. besides, who would use a search they *know* is being filtered by the government when they can use something that's *not*? (even if they get booted off the net for using politicaly sensitive terms)
  • Chinese power philosophy, then and now.

    1946:
    "All power Eminates From the barrel of a gun"

    2003:
    "All power Eminates From the most used Internet search engine"
  • by riptalon ( 595997 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @06:47PM (#5689325)

    Google, while technically advanced and lacking in intrusive ads, appears to have slowly drifted away from what most people would consider fair and impartial behaviour as it has grown in size. To take a recent example they have been refusing [infoshop.org] to index many non-corporate news sites in Google News, while at the same time deciding [theregister.co.uk] to start indexing press releases on the websites of major corporations.

    While the crack down on independent news sites may have been unrelated to the invasion of Iraq it has certainly led some to speculate that they are under pressure not to index those who are not cheerleading the war. This is all before you get to the privacy issue [google-watch.org] and of course the allegations that one of their employees used to work for the NSA [google-watch.org].

    PageRank can also be extremely annoying if you are looking for information on an unpopular subject that is similar to a much more popular one. The ability to disable PageRank of even to invert it, to show the results with the least links to them first, would improve things greatly. It may be that the lowest common denominator effects of PageRank are all too welcome for some people.

    Search engines are a critical part of the present web infrastructure and a website is of little value if no one can find it. In the long term it would be of great benefit to all if Google could be replaced by with some sort of distributed search facility with no centralised control, where the individual user would have full control of the process.

    • And this is different from other established news sources how?
      • And this is different from other established news sources how?

        Well I was under the impression Google News wasn't supposed to be a news source itself, anymore than the Google search engine is a source of web content. It is just an index of news sources. So the question is whether corporate press releases are, in themselves, news. You are of course right that "established news sources" will often pick up press releases as the basis of a story, but they don't repeat them all.

        I would question whether

  • When you take 200+ chinese web portals and put them together?

    A half-ass Google knock-off.

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