There's a lot of flexing of muscles going on in the media at the moment - let's fact it, there's nothing more fun than being able to kick down the share prices of a net behemoth - but come on, can you imagine any other big information company trying to do the right thing in this situation?
And as I've said before, Google.cn is incredibly leaky when it comes to censored information.
Especially if you mis-spell something using pinyin (i.e. the Roman alphabet) - though this may not be applicable to Chinese ideograms, there's such a push within China for the population to learn English that that shouldn't be a problem.
And the normal government-censored Google.com is still available as it was before and as it would have been if nothing had been done, for those Chinese who prefer to use proxies to see the world as it really is beyond the Great Firewall...
So when Google.cn advises that they have had to restrict their search results due to "Chinese laws, regulations, and policies", that can only inspire more people to look for the truth, making the restrictions counterproductive.
Imagine if nobody ever heard Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech? If Rosa Park's brave defiance was silenced? If all the other courageous voices of the civil rights movement had never been heard?
Imagine if all newspapers and media of that era had been censored by our government.
You know what today's America would then be like.
Why then should we accept justifications and excuses from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Cisco and all the others who, to line their pockets with cash and prop up their quarterly statements, provide China's regime with the means to keep their own Martin Luther Kings and Rosa Parks silenced?
And if it's "ok" to use American technology to prop up a terrified dictatorship halfway around the world; how will we be able to object if or when the same technology gets used at home, against you and me...
...once there is nobody left who can stand up and shout: "I have a dream!"
It's a difficult balancing act - if Google hadn't done this, someone far less conscientious might've stepped into the fray, much less concerned about their responsibility to highlight free speech.
And if a high-profile like Google builds support in China, the less chance that an alternative engine be released in collaboration with the Chinese government.
I do believe that the notification of restriction on Google.cn is an important step, considering that the Chinese firewall traditionally just killed contentious results.
But I do admit that it's all about the money. But unfortunately that's the evil of capitalism. Capitalism = greed. However Google's take on it is, I feel, more enlightened than most mega-corporations.
And as for free speech in the US and elsewhere within "the free world", it's already heavily restricted, especially in the US. The media has become so castrated by the political machine and the corporate buck that Big Brother is already blunting our own freedom.
It's all a bit of a pisser really.
But then, we're all going to die anyway... bird flu / nuclear war / pollution & infertility / religion will see to that!!!