back to article Google says NYET! to Putin, pulls techies out of Russia – report

Google has refused to deny that it's pulling its engineering team out of Russia, leaving only sales and marketing people behind. The reported shuttering of Google's engineering office comes after restrictive laws were passed by the Russian parliament that will force the web giant, and others like it, to keep all data on …

  1. Florida1920
    Big Brother

    The more things change

    If Russia tries to insulate its people from outside information contrary to government interests, Russians will find alternate ways of learning the truth. The samizdat movement flourished in the USSR, and something similar will surface now. Only a paranoid like Putin would believe otherwise. And it's not pre-1989 anymore, when samizdat comprised secretly-photocopied books and journals. It will be a lot easier now. Putin is riding full-gallop toward a steep cliff.

    1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

      Re: The more things change

      But samizdat was available - or interesting - only to a tiny part of the Soviet population, and at considerable risk. If you talk to Russians now, the vast majority of them do not get - nor are interested in - any information sources outside of Putin-controlled ones, despite the big great Internet. Part of the reason is language. Another part is that the Russians - just like any other people - deserve their government.

      I actually think it will not be very difficult for Putin to insulate the country. A small part of the population will find ways around it - Western radio was received in the USSR despite extensive jamming, too. And the transgressors will suffer for their audacity, just like in the past. Probably even more - it must be easier to trace who tries to reach Western websites than who tries to listen to the radio at home. Internet is a godsend to police states, eh? (We all should remember that.) In any case, the bulk of the population can be insulated quite efficiently.

      The old USSR broke down because Gorby made the country a bit less insulated from above, not because the population demanded it - or circumvented the restrictions - from below. I don't know what Putin thinks, but he may well be thinking Gorby made a mistake.

      I confess I am a history buff. When I catch news about Russia, which does not happen often, I admit, I occasionally think things look a bit similar to their early 1930ies - after a very brief period of economic "easing" (to borrow a modern term) when it became clear the economy didn't work. The problem with this analogy is that any student of history knows what happened there in the late 30ies...

  2. Beau
    WTF?

    What total rubbish!!

    "It will all come down to the endless battle between profits and principles."

    What total rubbish, within Google their is no battle between profits and principles.

    Profit won that battle a long time ago, principles today, are all well and truly dead and buried!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What total rubbish!!

      I'm inclined to agree, at least with respect to the common use of 'principles'.

      I think, though, that there is one principle that might win over profit, and that is the principle of 'continuous market growth with no backsliding'. that principle might see them come to an accommodation with the Russians.

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: What total rubbish!!

      "Profit won that battle a long time ago, principles today, are all well and truly dead and buried!"

      Personally knowing quite a few senior people at Google, I must disagree. They value their principles quite highly. I don't happen to remotely share most of their principles, but they do believe in them as strongly as I do mine...and they'd be willing to see off a lot of profit to achieve them.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google is a leach and there is no requirement to accomodate it.

    Google does not contribute - it extracts value for itself, but returns nothing in taxes according to the Australian Taxation Office. Also according to the Australian IT Society, Google inparts very little knowledge to the tech communities either. The organization is being accused of being a parasitic business and intelligence gathering model.

    As for the potential cost of a lousy 50 jobs to Russia - this is a laughably insignificant! Compared with the upside to indigenous start ups and technology initiatives I see only an upside to consumer privacy.

    I also see a fantastic opportunity for alternative platforms to pick up the largest markets on earth... Russia, India, China, Brazil, Indonesia etc... Until Google actually offers something meaningful to its customers and learns to act responsibly in the market place I say unplug this leach and let it whither...

    1. ratfox
      Angel

      Re: Google is a leach and there is no requirement to accomodate it.

      Google does not contribute - it extracts value for itself, but returns nothing in taxes according to the Australian Taxation Office.

      Ah, that explains why nobody uses Google!

      1. Mark Exclamation Bronze badge

        Re: Google is a leach and there is no requirement to accomodate it.

        Please don't feed the trolls. Oh, wait.....

  4. Vociferous

    More counter-evidence for the irrational Google hate.

    Google-haters really need to take a second to reflect on the fact that ALL the problems Google is facing from governments around the world, stem from the fact that Google isn't willing to censor the internet

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More counter-evidence for the irrational Google hate.

      Google not willing to participate in or facilitate censorship is only one of the things which get them into trouble with governments in some parts of the world.

      The other big problem Google is getting itself into repeatedly in other areas of the world is a rather unclear attitude towards privacy. The latter is what makes many people feel uneasy about Google. It *must* be a very interesting source for certain agencies, because it literally hoovers up all the data about its users (and users of sites which use Google's ad and analytics offerings) that it can possibly gather. And the problem is that nobody really knows how much Google is cooperating with snooping agencies all over the world (it's not "just" the NSA who will be interested) - be it voluntarily or because it's being forced to. Sure, they put on a big show where they suddenly snuggled up with MS and Apple in order to restore their battered image, but that tells us zilch about what is going on behind the scenes.

      In the context of the article, of course Google isn't keen on building data centres in Russia in the light of their new laws. Likely many non-Russian companies do the same right now... wait and see, without categorically rejecting the Russian market at this point in time (it would create an anti Google attitude amongst Russians, which would economically hurt Google if their smart mobe market share shrunk).

      On top of that, Google's lobbying efforts at home could take a hit if they cozied up with Russia too much. Let's not forget that in order for any company to take the leap from being a large enterprise to being a giant, they have to understand political games and lobbying -- and they need to play it. That's hard if everybody points fingers at them joking "oh look! our new double-agents!"

      The political agenda at home may be a reason why they are being so vague about their intentions in Russia.

      1. Vociferous

        Re: More counter-evidence for the irrational Google hate.

        > The other big problem Google is getting itself into repeatedly in other areas of the world is a rather unclear attitude towards privacy

        The "right to be forgotten" directive is nothing but government-enforced censorship. The same is true of the demands to block/censor Google Earth, and the RIAA/MPAA lobbying to ban Google from showing certain search results. Google was forced out of China because it refused to give the Chinese secret service access to gmail, and is now being forced out of Russia for the same reason.

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: More counter-evidence for the irrational Google hate.

        "because it literally hoovers up all the data about its users "

        Um, no it doesn't.

  5. arctic_haze
    Unhappy

    What if Russia uses the "right to be forgotten"? Will it be totally erased from the Google engine making Russian Fort, CA the only thing you will see looking for info about the country?

  6. veeguy

    Look at the man-titties on Vladimir! He must be the wet nurse bitch to the entire Eastern Crimea.

  7. Nifty Silver badge

    What Chinese bargain?

    Usually there a link to citations, not this time

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