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An important part of the success formula at Google involves finding ever larger areas to record, and finding ever deeper access to websites, to index. But the itinerant Google indexer, whichever direction it heads, often these days, finds itself is timed by foreign government regulation. The biggest news in this area that we’ve seen recently, comes from the China-Google conflict. China wants all search engines operating within the country, to not display any results about the 1989 Tiananmen Square conflict or Tibet. Google did used to go along; but this kind of cooperation can’t be taken for granted anymore, now that China has been found out hacking into Google and causing actual damage.

Another kind of wall that keeps Google out is one of the copyright variety. Google’s venture, to try to digitize every university library in the world, has been vigorously opposed by authors and publishers. Google has had to work out an understanding with the publishers. It’s only the orphaned old works that Google has been left alone on. But if the barriers keep Google out of some places, and deprived it of ever more material to index, Google does wonder, if it can foster the creation of new content, just to be able to index it.

Large parts of the world remain alienated from the Internet because of poverty and a lack of education; Google is holding a Wikipedia contest in Tanzania to get locals to translate the free online encyclopedia into their native Swahili. They are giving out laptops and networking equipment to the winners; so far, there have been about 900 articles translated. Google even believes that its search algorithms have reached an important stage in their evolution, and that the company needs to find a new direction – somewhere other than search algorithm tweaking, in which to grow. But even translating the Wikipedia is not problem-free. The original authors of the articles they translate, are now coming out to sue for copyright infringement.