Daniel Indiviglio semi-condemns Google for its compliance with Chinese censorship laws. The “condemnation” is that they put profits before ethics. But that’s way too simplistic and strikes me as a bit insincere — as if we are shocked that Google is trying to make money.

Google is strategically smart to comply with the Chinese government, just as they comply with laws here in the US. Of course they are pursuing profits. And it’s a fair bet that they don’t agree with the censorship laws. Heck, don’t you think that they would rather put engineering resources toward something else?

But what would we have them do? Make some superficially “bold” statement that they won’t comply? I really don’t know what that would buy them except further bureaucratic headaches, and much cruder censorship of Google’s sites, implemented directly by the Chinese gov’t. Ironically, Google retains more control by complying now.

Really, there is no upside to putting up a public fight, except perhaps to get some favorable short-term PR here at home. Eric Schmidt is smart enough to choose his battles. A patient game works much better for them.

Long term, the Chinese citizens will decide what is censorship, not their government. Better for Google to provide them with the best service under the circumstances, build loyalty, and move the ball down the field.