Week in Review: Google takes on China

Week in Review

Google picks a fight with China

It's the battle of the beasts this week, as Google picked a fight with China - or really, China picked a fight with Google.

Basically, Google has censored its search results in China for years, at the behest of the government, blocking out results for terms like Falun Gong. The search giant this week said it just might stop doing that - which would mean it would have to stop operations in the company - after it became aware that Chinese hackers were targeting GMail accounts of human rights activists. The attacks apparently took advantage of a known flaw in Internet Explorer.

China said Google is being silly, and that its internet is free and open - which of course it famously isn't. While they've since said they'd like Google to stick around, they won't exactly be without search, as Google runs second in that market by a huge margin to local provider Baidu.

While it's hard to see why the attacks have suddenly angered Google - considering it was censoring such people itself via its own search - at least they're finally starting to live up to their own "Do No Evil" motto.

Microsoft intends to stick around in China, with chief executive Steve Ballmer saying he doesn't understand Google's move, as such cyber attacks are "every day" activities.

The tech sector has recovered

Cheer up, it's 2010 and economic horrors of 2009 are long over - according to analysts, at least.

Forrester piped up earlier this week to declare that the "technology downturn of 2008 and 2009 is unofficially over".

That firm's happy thoughts were echoed later in the week when Gartner's PC shipment numbers showed a 22 per cent increase in growth over last year - the highest growth rate in seven years. Analyst Mikako Kitagawa said this showed the markets had recovered.

Intel proved their analysis by posting an 875 per cent income jump - that's not a typo. Sure, the huge jump was made possible by the horrible results of last year, but it's still a clear sign of recovery at one of the tech's bellwethers.

Educational tech for kids

The BETT educational technology show hit London this week, bringing with it oodles of new interactive whiteboards, ruggedised netbooks and other student-friendly gadgets - check out our video about Dell's vision of the classroom of the future.

The powers that be used the show as an opportunity to push their long-discussed programme to supply free PCs and broadband to children of low-income families.

TalkTalk took some issue with that, calling it "muddled thinking" given the government is also set to start taxing everyone with a broadband line.

Meanwhile, an Intel survey showed teachers think every student in their class should have their very own laptop.

iPhone versus Nexus One hots up

Google's Nexus One arrived last week, sparking off another iPhone-killer standoff - as if we haven't had enough of those already.

So far, it doesn't look to be doing the job. While it hasn't been released in the UK on a network yet, it has gone out in the US - but the much anticipated Google phone has only sold 20,000. That might sound good, but it's not only a fraction of the iPhone's sales, but fewer sales than other less vaunted phones, too.

Apparently, the Nexus One costs $175 to make, and Google promised the next version will be a bit more business friendly.

Meanwhile, the iPhone was added to the another UK operators shelves this week, and is now available on the Vodafone network.

The best of the rest

One of the founders of the Darkmarket site faces 10 years in jail, while Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle all offer up security patches.

The Information Commissioner's Office has won the right to fine people as much as 500,000 for data breaches.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg thinks we don't care about privacy online, and Gary McKinnon has won another stay of extradition with a judicial review, so he's staying in the UK until at least the spring.