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Comment Re:Free trade of ideas, anyone? (Score 2, Informative) 687

You might want to read Google's Blog post about the introduction of

The short of it is that since wasn't self-filtering, the government was filtering at the border, which led to slow and unreliable service, in addition to the filtering. Google decided that on the whole, it was better to provide an additional filtered local (and thus reliable) service than to leave the chineese with only a service that didn't work well (from the user's standpoint). And since it was additional, they didn't take away anything.

That, and it was good for business.

From the 2006 post, edited for length:

[In the fall of 2002, Google suddenly became completely unreachable from within China. Google did nothing, and about two weeks later, it could be reached again.]

However, we soon discovered new problems. Many queries, especially politically sensitive queries, were not making it through to Google’s servers. And access became often slow and unreliable, meaning that our service in China was not something we felt proud of. Even though we weren’t doing any self-censorship, our results were being filtered anyway, and our service was being actively degraded on top of that. Indeed, at some times users were even being redirected to local Chinese search engines Nevertheless, we continued to offer our service from outside China while other Internet companies were entering China and building operations there.

[much later in the testimony]

Since 2000, Google has been offering a Chinese-language version of, designed to make Google just as easy, intuitive, and useful to Chinese-speaking users worldwide as it is for speakers of English. Within China, however, has proven to be both slow and unreliable. Indeed, Google’s users in China struggle with a service that is often unavailable. According to our measurements, appears to be unreachable around 10% of the time. Even when Chinese users can get to, the website is slow (sometimes painfully so, and nearly always slower than our local competitors), and sometimes produces results that, when clicked on, stall out the user’s browser. The net result is a bad user experience for those in China.

The cause of the slowness and unreliability appears to be, in large measure, the extensive filtering performed by China’s licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs). ... China has nine licensed international gateway data carriers, and many hundreds of smaller local ISPs. Each ISP is legally obligated to implement its own filtering mechanisms, leading to diverse and sometimes inconsistent outcomes across the network at any given moment. For example, some of Google’s services appear to be unavailable to Chinese users nearly always, including Google News, the Google cache..., and Blogspot... . Other services, such as Google Image Search, can be reached about half the time. Still others, such as, Froogle, and Google Maps, are unavailable only around 10% of the time.

Even when Google is reachable, the data indicates that we are almost always slower than our local competitors. Third-party measurements of latency ... suggest that the average total time to download a Google webpage is more than seven times slower than for Baidu, the leading Chinese search engine.


Based on our analysis of the available data, we believe that the filtering performed by the international gateway ISPs is far more disruptive to our services than that performed by smaller local ISPs. Because Google’s servers have, to date, been located exclusively outside China, all traffic to and from Google must traverse at least one of China’s international gateway ISPs. Accordingly, Google’s access problems can only be solved by creating a local presence inside China.

Operating without a local presence, Google’s slowness and unreliability appears to have been a major – perhaps the major – factor behind our steadily declining market share. According to third-party estimates, Baidu has gone from 2.5% of the search market in 2003 to 46% in 2005, while Google has dropped to below 30% (and falling). ...the leading cause seems to be the Chinese users’ annoyance at the persistent slowness and unreliability of Google.

Comment Re:At least you'll have options (Score 1) 378

No, you've missed the point.

The current situation, if you wanted a stylized block of text, it had to be a graphic--which can't be searched, screen-read, or indexed. In short, the text and the presentation are stuck together.

With the new font-face concept, you now have the text in the source (which CAN be searched, indexed, and read by a screen-reader) and the presentation controlled by the CSS. So I guess, yes, you can get features that previously required a graphic, but now allow text-search, too.

Comment Re:Body Mass Index?!? (Score 2, Informative) 66

...I don't believe that even the most magical of algorithms can derive player body mass indexes or whether they're "slightly more depressed than average" from it. I call bullshit.

TFA also states that the user data "was followed up with demographic surveys of the users." I'd wager that among the demographic information collected was height and weight, as well as some mental health type questions. Admittedly, those aren't questions I'd expect if someone was surveying me, but I'd probably ask them if I were surveying a group of Everquest players...

Comment Re:Damned with and without "paper trail" (Score 1) 507

And if it does, a voter can be bought and/or pressured to vote for someone else — the buyer (or the thug) will demand to see the voting confirmation before giving the money (or letting the kids go)...

Not if the paper trail can't be taken from the polling place. It's the same as with a paper ballot--you verify that it reflects your choices, and then trust that all the votes will be securely and correctly transferred to the central voting authority.

If you can't take the paper with you, (as you can't currently) then your point is moot.

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