Monday, October 17, 2011

Siri And The Great Firewall of China

Siri rocks as far as its potential goes.  And while I'm not exactly sure of most of the details of how it works, I think we can safely say that it has a lot to do with servers in data centers that Apple maintains.  Query something and it gets to a gateway, gets crunched, and spits the answer back out to the user.

Okay, how would this work in parts of the world where the iPhone is very popular like China where there is a lot of censorship going on?  You know, the Great Firewall of China.

Most of our readers kind of take these things for granted.  Whether in China, Iran, any other place where free flow of information is frowned up, to put it mildly, how would Siri work?  To my mind, this could be the first time where Apple will have to decide if it has to clamp down on services or information to avoid getting on the bad side of Beijing.

One might say that Apple knows a thing or two about control information.  It does and it is quite good at it.  Walled ecosystem and corporate information lock-downs aside, Apple really has never not limited access to Facebook, Google, or Twitter.  Apple has been known to make things difficult for competitors but playing hard ball is something totally different from just shutting out information, which is what China does.

So, when the iPhone 4S launches in China, I get the feeling that Siri will not be available.  Not because Siri isn't available in most countries.  Rather, China will bar Siri from entering China altogether.

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