Buzz Out Loud Podcast 1144: What's Google really doing in China?

Due to some Gmail attacks, Google has said it will remove its filters and possibly pull out of China altogether. There's definitely a lot more going on behind the scenes of this than we know.

Tom Merritt Former CNET executive editor
3 min read

Due to some Gmail attacks, Google has said it will remove its filters and possibly pull out of China altogether. There's definitely a lot more going on behind the scenes of this than we know, but we try to get to the heart of the matter as the nation of China negotiates with the nation of Google. We also discuss Facebook's requirement that you scan your hard drive to reactivate a hacked account, and we look forward to Martians coming this year. Yay for Martians!

Watch this: Ep. 1144: What's Google really doing in China?


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Anders from Copenhagen On the Google ads

Hey gang.

I was listening to your podcast about Google maps selling ad space and I have two concerns about this. I’m a visual effects artist in feature films and both my concerns are based on past experience.

1: Google might get in trouble if they sell ads on a billboard if someone has purchased that same space in real life. Imagine if a sign has an Apple ad that you can see in street view. But the ad is old. So Google comes along and sells it to Coke. At the same time the real billboard has been bought buy Pepsi. This happened in a movie I worked on when the director ask to replace some of the signs in Times Square with fake ads. Legal came back and said we couldn’t because those signs are owned by someone else and we need their permission to do so.

2: Google street view is just a series of compressed, blurry images. To make it look authentic you would have to make the new ads blurry and compressed. If you don’t it will just look stupid and fake. But what company would pay for such poor quality ad space.

Just my input. One a side note, I’ve been listening to you guys since Ep. 148 and it never gets old.

Take care,
Wayne, The VFX artist, Montreal Canada


Hey guys,

Regarding Google and their scanning of books in China, Tom made a point about not being sure whether it was actually wrong for Google to be making these scans for indexing purposes in the first place. Just wanted to make one point: Google purports to want to “organize the world’s information”. One of the ways they do this is by crawling through the Internet — in essence, “scanning” web pages — and indexing the information online. The thing is, if I don’t want to be a part of this service, I can modify my robots file and exclude my website from this service. If Google recognizes an author’s right to keep their web-based content out of their indexing service, why not the paper-based media as well?

Of course, I suppose that the robots file isn’t a Google creation and so is more something that they have to live with, rather than a conscious choice on their part, so the analogy breaks down a little there. Still, it seems a bit like a double-standard, doesn’t it?

Harry in Virginia

Watch this: Ep. 1144: Web Exclusive