Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Did Google just develop a foreign policy?

Some really interesting stuff about Google and Twitter working together to get around the internet takedown in Egypt. Its a pretty novel service:
Google and Twitter have launched a service to allow people in Egypt to send Twitter messages by leaving a voicemail on a specific number after the last internet service provider in the country saw its access cut off late on Monday.

The new service, which has been created by co-ordination between the two internet companies, uses Google's speech-to-text recognition service to automatically translate provides an online voicemail service and tweets a link to each message, which is sent out on Twitter with the "#egypt" hashtag.

Its a pretty gutsy move. They're going head to head with an established Government which right now, isnt going anywhere, so why would they do it? Theres obviously some great PR here, its gotten loads of press, and ultimately its the right thing to do.

I wonder if its something more carefully thought out however. Google's business model (and Twitter's) does well in democracies and struggles in dictatorships for obvious reasons. The Google experience in China being the best example. Would it be beyond the company to decide that they want to start promoting the types of Government they want as part of their long term business strategy? I honestly don't see why not, its only lobbying on steroids, and they do plenty of lobbying.

Plenty of other companies already do it, why shouldnt Google?
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