Ronnie05's Blog

Sino-Google Conflict (Part V): Who is the looser, anyway?

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on March 24, 2010

The Google-China spat coincides with a particular souring of US-China relations and an increasing belligerence of Chinese leadership to all things western that seem to challenge it’s vice grip on the cultural and political environment of China. Before the censorship issue spiraled out of proportions, Google had collaborated with the Chinese government to censor online info available to the Chinese public. But things went a little too far, with Chinese hackers trying to hack into the Gmail accounts of Human rights activists in China. A lots been spoken about whose loss is it anyway?

Here’s my take on whether the opportunity loss for Google outweighs the Chinese loss of its freedom to information and expression.

The Great wall has been a symbol of China for long and metaphorically it can be regarded as guarding a closed kingdom. The status has not changed over the centuries.

The Google-China spat is probably a good indicator of the parochial thought that pervades the Chinese policy makers and the leadership.
While Multinational and Global organizations are doing big business in and with China, the inner core of Chinese thought is still very non-transparent, conservative and insecure.
By trying to regulate, the power of free expression, the Chinese leadership is also denying its citizens the right to stand together with their global counterparts.

Bottomline, Google’s loss may be transient and transitory. But China seems to be doing a permanent loss to its technology innovation and its human rights to information and expression.

The impact of information censorship on free information and societal development

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The debate on Searchability versus Sociability of the Net: Facebook versus Google

Posted in Internet and Search, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on March 24, 2010

Continuing on my earlier post of Google and Facebook on collision course, This post is about the how Google and Facebook are polarizing Internet in The Search Habit and the Networking Habit.

A latest report by the European Research and Consulting Firm, Insites Consulting has estimated the number of social media users on the internet globally at 940 million. The other way round, 72% of the Internet users of the world are a part of at least one social media network. That puts the internet users number at approximate 1.3 billion (roughly the size of India’s total population).

Yet another report from Hitwise has concluded that for the week ending March 13th 2010, Facebook overtook Google as the most visited site in US. This isn’t the first time that Facebook has taken this credit. On Christmas Eve, Christmas day and the New Years, Facebook had become the No 1 site in US when people had logged online to wish their friends and relatives. Facebook and Google accounted for 14% of all US internet visits last week. With over 400 million users and growing, Facebook is quickly becoming the prime destination for many users of the web. While Google is used for search, Facebook is the main tool used to communicate with friends, and more recently, to play games. For the week ending March 13, visits to accounted for 7.07 percent of all Internet traffic in the United States, and Visits to search engine Google made up 7.03 percent. An year ago visits to Facebook accounted for only 2.48% of the total US traffic whereas Google accounted for 6.46%. This important milestone for Facebook shows that social connection and social media are truly outpacing traditional means of communication and connections.

The Hitwise figures only cover visits to the site, meaning that services such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps and searches carried out in a box in a browser toolbar are excluded. Taking all Google properties into account, the internet company accounted for 11.03 per cent of US website visits last week among the top 100 domains, compared with 10.98 per cent for Yahoo properties and 7.07 per cent for Facebook, according to Hitwise. Internet users worldwide spent more than five-and-a-half hours a month on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in December 2009, an 82 per cent increase over the previous year, according to the Nielsen Company research firm. US users spent nearly six-and-a-half hours on Facebook compared with fewer than two-and-a-half hours on Google.

So then does this mean that the Internet is becoming more sociable rather than more searchable i.e the trend is changing from sponsored information (Google) to recommended and word of mouth information and conversation. Behavioral tendency favors information from users than the sponsored links. It certainly looks that way for the moment. Remember how Google (The God) ended up adding the Buzz to its emails to counter the Facebook effect.

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