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Google should boost image with China battle, analysts say

January 13, 2010 11:28 AM ET

Andrews added that the search company's earlier deals to censor search results in China violated one of Google's guiding tenets -- do no evil. Google's actions prompted some users to believe that its pledges were all talk and no substance, he said.

"If they win the good will back, it has the potential, in the long run, to be enormously important," added Andrews. "At this point, the stakes are very high. If their image is cleaned up ... that's an unmeasurable quantity."

And he added, capturing the good will shouldn't significantly hurt the company's top and bottom lines in the short term. Several analysts were quick to point out that China is not a major revenue source for Google, though Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, noted that it's long term potential could be huge.

"Right now, China is not a big piece of Google's business," he added. "It's not even the largest or fastest-growing search engine in China. But China is a large market and it's growing faster than most of the rest of the world. So not serving China would mean slower growth in all of Google's businesses going forward. Not slow -- Google is still a rapidly growing company. But slower than it would have grown with China."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at Twitter@sgaudin, send e-mail to sgaudin@computerworld.com or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed Gaudin RSS.

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