Google has long been served with positive karma over its "Do No Evil" policy, and on first look, it seems that its withdrawal from China may on the surface be part of this continuing policy, but one can help but look upon with slightly cynical eyes. Was it perhaps a business decision with Baidu doing very well against them in the search market.
Did Google decide to take advantage of the hacking situation as an excuse to withdraw from a losing battle? Perhaps not, as some reports have indicated. Google seemed to have secured the wealthier and tech-savvy portion of the market, and pulling out will be quite a significant loss on paper.
Now, with reports that it has lifted censorship by routing its .cn site over to their uncensored .hk site, Google has set for themselves the lines to leave China. If China decides to ban the site, Google can immediately leave. Most of us would immediately assume that by saying that they will leave China, it would mean a complete withdrawal when their search engine service is discontinued there.
Google however, isn't just their online advertising and search engine; on the contrary, Android will continue to flourish in China, given the size of the mobile handphone market there, Google would be crazy to pull all their eggs out of the Chinese basket.
So in taking the moral stand, Google not only scores yet more positive rep, but continues to be able to do business in China via its other businesses. So unless it takes a complete scorched earth removal policy (which seems crazy financially), Google will still be around in China for a while yet.
In the game of who blinks first, it's may be likely that Google will not be hit by the Chinese government's banhammer. Public sentiment seems to be on Google's side, and the Chinese government has been known to listen to opinions on the Internet despite their strict censorship policies.
The next few days will see the next move in this chess game between Google and China, whether it'd be checkmate or a stalemate will definitely be interesting to watch from the sidelines.
Aloysius Low / Former Tech Writer
Tech writer, gadget nerd, cat owner and social media junkie, Aloysius loves exploring the wacky side of tech, while tackling his notebook reviews.