THE BROWSER: Truth and rumors from the tech world
Google's Chinese censorship efforts tank
China's Internet-filtering rules block unwelcome search results -- but only if they're spelled correctly.
Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 online editor

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0) - Google (Research) is getting lambasted online for its new policy of accommodating China's Internet-censorship rules. But with its new Chinese search engine,, Google isn't living up to its reputation for technical wizardry. Paul Boutin points out on his blog that if you search for "Tiananmen," you get peaceful photos of the Beijing square -- but if you search for common misspellings like "Tienanmen," "Tianenmen," or "Tiananman," you get photos of tanks. (Full disclosure: Paul's a good friend of mine, but I hadn't seen anyone else make this observation.)

Why Juniper missed earnings

Cisco (Research) archrival Juniper Networks (Research) saw its stock drop more than 20 percent after missing its 2005 fourth quarter revenue forecasts. Why the sharp haircut? Slash at the Inventing Money blog blames the router maker's spree of recent acquisitions, pointing out that three of the five companies that Juniper bought for a combined $450 million actually contributed nothing to its sales growth in the most recent earnings period.

ESPN ads get thumbs down on iTunes

Sure, those ESPN SportsCenter ads are funny. But two bucks worth of funny? ESPN is selling its 30-second promotional spots on iTunes for $1.99 apiece. That's almost 7 cents a second -- you don't even pay that much for long-distance these days. Users have given the overpriced ads an average rating of one-star out of five. And besides, as a business proposition this gambit doesn't make much sense--not only can users see the ads for free on ESPN, but they can play almost all of a spot for free just by previewing it on iTunes. When Apple (Research) CEO Steve Jobs joins Disney's (Research) board after it acquires Pixar (Research), this may be one of the first things he'll want to fix.

A laptop in every pot

A New York Times article is provoking an online debate over whether cell phones or laptops are truly the best way to bring the Internet to the world's poor. In-house Microsoft (Research) blogger Robert Scoble agrees with his boss Bill Gates that cell phones are the best way to make Internet access universal: When he travels overseas, he sees everyone reading their phones, not using laptops. David Rothman says he hopes that MIT's cheap-laptop experiment wins out, because it's easier to read on larger screens.


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