I feel about this the same way I did when Microsoft censored its blogs: In China, the only alternative to censored service is no service at all. I think that even partial service is better than none, because the censored topics are not the only things people want to find on the web.
But here’s what I don’t get: Suppose Google built a complete data center in China with its own database and its own googlebots. The googlebots would scan the web as usual, following links wherever they go. However, when the bots attempted to follow a link to censored content, the Chinese government firewall would block access, and the bots wouldn’t add those blocked pages to the index. The resulting database would therefore contain only materials that passed Chinese censorship. No one would blame Google for this.
Instead, Google scans much of the web outside of China, and then omits pages blocked by the Chinese firewall from its result sets. The same search results are available to users as if the data center were entirely within China, but now people blame Google for the censorship.
Like others, I’m angry about the censorship of Google results in China, but I think the proper target for our anger is the Chinese government.