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Tibetans, others protest Google censorship

The public outcry continues over Google's launch of a search site in China that censors results authorities there object to. Tibetans and supporters protested at the Googleplex on Wednesday night after the news came out. And on Friday Students for a Free Tibet launched an online petition featuring a doctored Google logo.

They are angry at Google's policy, which will mean that people inside China, including Tibet, will not be able to get information using search terms like "Free Tibet," "Tibetan independence" and other terms related to the controversy over China taking control over the formerly independent small central Asian country.

Several dozen people showed up at the Mountain View, Calif., headquarters of Google for the protest, waving placards with sayings like "Google Don't Be Evil" in reference to Google's much cited mantra, said Tenzin Wangchuk, president of the Regional San Francisco Tibetan Youth Congress. That group helped organize the protest along with Students for a Free Tibet.

A Google spokeswoman confirmed the protest, but said there were more like 10 protesters. She declined to comment directly on their complaints, saying the group did not ask to speak to anyone at Google. For comment on the general criticism, she pointed to a posting on Friday by a Google attorney on the Google Blog.

Tibetans aren't the only ones angry about Google's policy. Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch, suggests in a posting on his blog that Google's move is motivated more by economics (access to the large, untapped Chinese market) than by technological goodwill.

"Google being in China helps itself more than China and simply does not fit into the 'Don't Be Evil' mantra we've been spoon fed for several years now," he writes. "As a reminder, here's what Google told investors about that in its IPO filing:

"'Don't be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served--as shareholders and in all other ways--by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company.'"