One visible advantage of the Internet is that people can create their own versions of certain websites— portals, say (although the term is archaic), or news sites. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Google Inc., in an effort to please neighbours China and India—and who can afford to antagonize these two powerful countries and economies?—has created different versions of Google Maps for the two countries, featuring geographical boundaries that New Delhi and Beijing are comfortable with.
At one level, Google’s virtual reality may be the best way to deal with such issues where neither party is likely to back down from a previously articulated position. The Internet makes alternative realities possible.
Google’s move also gives the term “doing business across borders” an entirely new meaning. But it is, for a company that once proudly proclaimed that it does no evil, an interesting display of realpolitik.
India stays happy. China stays happy. And Google makes the money.