Updated Google's support centre has pulled an answer to the topical question "Does Google censor search results?" Since the answer clearly stated the company "does not censor results for any search term", and given the company's recent foray into the lucrative Chinese search engine market, it seems fair that the internet monolith would probably want to review that particular stance and relegate the offending item to cache.
Yup, democracy is not a word you want to be flashing about when you've just opened a big fat Yuan bank account.
For the record, Google's justification for agreeing to censorship of search results on Google China is, as Sergey Brin put it: "We ultimately made a difficult decision, but we felt that by participating there, and making our services more available, even if not to the 100 percent that we ideally would like, it will be better for Chinese Web users, because ultimately they would get more information, though not quite all of it."
Chinese news website Xinhua kicks off its "China welcomes running dog lackey imperialist search engine" piece with: "By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search engine more widely available and easier to use in the world's most populous country."
It does, however, quickly move on to a refreshingly frank analysis of Google's real motivation: "China already has more than 100 million web surfers and the audience is expected to swell substantially — an alluring prospect for Google as it tries to boost its already rapidly rising profits."
Don't be evil? Don't make us laugh. ®
Reuters reports that Google and other internet companies have been "called" to attend a "Congressional Human Rights Caucus hearing on Wednesday and a February 16 session of the House of Representatives subcommittee on Global Human Rights".
The latter invitation is at the behest of New Jersey Republican and subcommittee chairman Chris Smith, who said in a statement that Google "would enable evil by cooperating with China's censorship policies just to make a buck."
Cisco, Microsoft and Yahoo! will also join "State Department officials and press freedom watchdog groups" at the 16 February shindig.
Whether Bill Gates will attend is unkown, but he today weighed into the debate by declaring: "I think [the internet] is contributing to Chinese political engagement. Access to the outside world is preventing more censorship.
Speaking In Davos, Switzerland, Gates added that concerns about censorship or widespread piracy in China should not deter firms from doing business there.