Saturday, 31 March 2012

What are Google doing with Blogger?


I’m afraid that nowadays I trust the motives of almost no-one with power or authority. From politicians down through large corporates, everything they do is viewed through my quizzical lens of ‘why are they doing that?’ Often the reason is obvious and involves money (travelling into their pockets of course). Sometimes the reasons can be deduced and other times motives are unclear. Usually it involves something detrimental to us ordinary folks.

In the case of Blogger and all the shenanigans with regional domains I am still confused. Obviously it has to do with censorship, local domain names allow specific blogs to be blocked in specific countries. Many people see this as a complete capitulation on the part of Google to authoritarian censorship and are very angry.

But I wonder. Google are obviously under enormous pressure to impose a method of national censorship so probably have to do something to appease the powers that are pressuring them. This does exactly as requested, allowing one nation to close down a blog within their national domain.

 Yet, when we look more carefully it could be seen as actually rather clever. Blogger appear to have devised a system that does everything asked of them, allowing a national censorship block, but they have left the system open such that other copies of the blog, with other national domains, can remain open, accessible and unmolested. The use of the blog name.com/ncr always gets back to the ‘home’ copy and all the eggs are spread over a vast number of national baskets.

 If someone somewhere were determined to protect speech free in the face of increasing censorship demands this is potentially rather a neat solution. So I’m cynical (as always), but also hopeful that on this occasion I could be wrong.

4 comments:

  1. My limited knowledge suggests you are right. A national url can comply with national laws but it's not Google's fault if people bypass the national url and go to the canonical (dot com) url.

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  2. Well, that's my hope AKH. Currently I'm in France and I'm seeing all blogger stuff being redirected as .fr domains, and I'm seeing your comment OK as well as seeing comments on other Blogger blogs - which looks good. If only Blogger wouldn't put all my instructions in french on the basis we belong where we log in from!

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  3. With our recent shenanigans with the troll, it's possibly nearing the end of Google/Blogger's run.

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  4. I changed my Blogspot address back to .com. It's simple to do. Whether Google eventually penalizes bloggers who do it I don't know.

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