Image Search Comparison – Google.com Vs. Google.cn

With Google’s decision to no longer censor search results at Google China, I thought it’ll be interesting to show how big of a difference a result can be between Google.com and Google.cn. While many are praising Google for standing up for free speech and stuff, my feeling is this is more of business decision than a moral one.

Unlike in the rest of the world, Google is not the number one search engine in China. They place a distant second behind Baidu. While Google China operations did generate $600 million in revenue, Google’s cost of doing business in China could be just as high if not higher. Google stated that losing the China market wouldn’t make a dent in their profit margin. My take on this – Google had no way of beating Baidu in China and decided to get out with some goodwill marketing back home by playing the anti-censorship card. It seem to have work too judging by all the “Good job Google!” posts all over the Web.

So just how different are the search results between Google.com and Google.cn? Below is the imagine results I got from Google.com for the term “tiananmen.”

Google.com search for

And this is the results I got for the same term on Google.cn.

Google.cn search for

You have until the end of this month to enjoy the old Google.cn. Next month, you’ll see results similar to Google.com. And you’ll probably see Google being escorted out of China under armed guards.


51 thoughts on “Image Search Comparison – Google.com Vs. Google.cn”

  1. That’s a pretty big difference in searches. Is it a coincidence that US search shows military results, and Chinas search shows more peaceful results?

    1. Yes it is very big difference. All the world are talking about Google, but I did not notice such a difference between Google.com and Google.cn before.

    2. I don’t think the Chinese government should be allowed to do such a thing.

      1. I think they can do whatever they want to do in their country as long as china citizen agree with it.

        1. That is my point too. Unfortunately government seldom has the well-being of the common citizens at heart. Government is meant to be a servant of the people, but somehow that just aint the case.

  2. Google have been doing some clever moves for the past xx years now … I think that they know how to create word-of-mouth marketing decision and make a positive experience from a not so positive situtation.

  3. Jay says:

    On what basis are you contending that it costs Google $600 million to do business in China. That doesn’t seem plausible at all seeing that we’re talking about the cost of running a sales office.

    Google’s only breaking even in China so they’re leaving and beating the anti-censorship drum to score goodwill points? C’mon John, you can do better than that. Post something plausible. Being no. 2 doesn’t mean you pull out of the market.

    1. John Chow says:

      Google breaking even means it cost them $600 million to run Google China. And Google runs far more than just a sale office in China. They employ 700 people there. They’re not just number 2. They are a distant #2 with no hope of ever getting to #1. That’s one of the reason Kai-fu Lee left Google. He noted that it was clear the company was never going to substantially increase its market share or beat Baidu.

      Baidu has more than twice the market share Google has and the gap is widening. As a matter of fact. Baidu is the world’s 3rd biggest search engine now, with 8 billion searches per month compared to 2nd place Yahoo’s at 8.9 billion search per month. The difference is Baidu searches are all from China while Yahoo is world wide. All that pales to Google’s 80 billion world wide search but the fact remains, Google had 4 years in China and failed against the local competition.

      BTW – I’m not the only one taking this view. http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/12/google%E2%80%99s-china-stance-more-about-business-than-thwarting-evil/

      1. It seems John knows a lot behind the surface. Compared with Baidu, Google really can’t beat it in China. But there are a lot of Google fans in China based on Google’s service.

        1. I think it was a smart pullout by Google, no need to deal with all that BS from the Chinese government.

      2. Yup, Google surely failed in china. And may be this strategy is the last strategy from china before they out.

        1. Yes they want to gain some reputation before pulling out from there.

        2. Not sure if they failed or just decided it wasn’t worth the investment.

      3. They sure are going out in a blaze of glory! Let’s face it, Google are making a strategic withdrawal, no matter what their cover story is…..

  4. Google is a business and is not going to do anything based on morality.

    1. S Ahsan says:

      well thats true but if they dont do what they are supposed to, they will still make money somehow; the market is almost google dominated.. no doubt!

  5. Google would have won China market if the Chinese and its government have an earth-wide perspective. If they think and search as wide as their land only (plus the censorship), then Baidu wins 😉

    1. Yeah — baidu wind because the local content, i assume.

      1. May be Baidu was also getting support from Chinese government and they do not want that their money should go outside China.

        They are really strict to that and making killing milk …lollzz

      2. Baidu won b/c its a chinese company, it would be the same if Baidu came to the U.S. and tried to compete against Google.

  6. Donny Gamble says:

    This is a very interesting comparison because
    images in Canada are not censored. I think that
    Google is using Canada as a test subject for this
    particular platform of their search

  7. Amazing the difference, the chinese people don’t know what truly went on over there.

    1. Maximum of people who use computer knows about this as its not hidden secret … but however this is Chineses Government who keep the pressure.

  8. Travel iN says:

    What under armed guards??? 😀

  9. chester says:

    What a huge difference. I completely disagree with all the censorship that’s taking place in China. To the outside world, it’s absolutely horrible what they’re doing.

  10. I see the old communist propaganda machine is still hard at work. The world will never be rid of it sadly.

    1. chester says:

      You would think that now they are less communist and are open to business to the world, that they would be more open to western journalism and ideas. I guess not. Sad.

  11. Yeah, Google may escort out of china even before next man.

    1. I think Google should invest in Brazil. Way more profitable emerging market.

  12. Linked your article on my site if you don’t mind John, this is definitely something I want all my readers to see.

    1. John Chow says:

      No problem. You are free to link any of my articles.

      1. Thanks John keep up the great work.

        1. John Chow says:

          Actually, I just saw the article. You are free to LINK to the article. You are not free to reprint the entire article. Please adjust it.

  13. Wow, that sure is a difference!

  14. Bojan says:

    I wonder how long it will take for China to erase Google completely from their views

    1. John Chow says:

      I would imagine one well placed bomb should do it.

      1. chester says:

        Maybe a couple of well placed bombs followed by a good old fashioned communist coverup.

  15. Quite a difference.

    Anyway, even if Google uncensors Google.cn, that doesn’t mean the average Chinese will be able to access it. After all, where is (and where will) Google.cn be hosted? China? California?

    Finally, the Chinese Government is the overseer for the .cn registry, right? They can just delete google.cn if they want to.

    Or redirect it to http://baidu.com/

  16. Tiananmen Square is the best keyword to show how China dominate the Google.

    This is something killing freedom of Google as well. Now at least Google will gain some respect at least if they loss the market of china.

  17. I am sure now many more and more people came to know about the Tiananmen Square. Because this controversy raise it again.

  18. the result is different due to country location

  19. mmo says:

    Who cares really? Unless we live in China and we search google.cn.

  20. Surfer Sam says:

    Another reason that Google has less market share than Baidu in China is that Baidu allows file sharing of copyrighted material, like music files. And Google doesn’t. Such file sharing is illegal in most places..

  21. wow new news for me…..but different result for different country…:)

    1. Makes you glad to live in America right?

  22. Nick Aviles says:

    And I’m glad Google is being kicked out, it’s too dominant as it is, someone has to be able to say no to Google.

  23. Bidet says:

    Wow I didn’t know there was so much censorship on google.cn, it looks like once they uncensor the site, they will be kicked out.

  24. Ideal Softs says:

    google adopted different strategy for different countries

  25. In my opinion,using Google is a form of free speech along with generating ideas.
    A no-no for China.
    This may effect the markets/investors who use the internet and Google for researching products/ services that are on the table for investing.
    Eventually this may have a effect on our markets,which I doubt.

  26. Google has not been doing all that well in China, as many have noted in recent days, badly trailing the domestic Chinese search company, Baidu.

  27. Interesting case study there on the images! Nobody should be stuck with censorship in this day & age; sadly, the world isn’t quite there yet…..

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