Wednesday, January 18th is scheduled to be a internet-wide day of protest, as sites big and small are going dark for the day to express their disapproval of the SOPA / PIPA legislation.
SOPA Blackout Day will see sites like Wikipedia, reddit, Mozilla, and Failblog cease normal operations in order to spread the message that SOPA, PIPA and any similar laws can kill the free internet, and must be stopped.
Google is also planning on participating in the protest, although their demonstration is not quite as dramatic as a blackout.
Bloomberg is reporting that Google will place a link on their homepage in order to show their opposition to SOPA and PIPA. Google has been an outspoken opponent of the legislation for months.
“Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet,” Samantha Smith, a Google spokeswoman, told Bloomberg. “So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. home page.”
Of course, a link on the homepage is not as bold as shutting down your site for an entire day, but would we really want Google to do that? There is plenty of debate right now surrounding Wikipedia and reddit’s imminent blackouts. While some side with Jimmy Wales in thinking that the drastic action is necessary as a warning message of what could happen when you screw with the internet, others feel that it will be ineffective and even counterproductive.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo called the idea “silly,” saying that “closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish.”
So Google won’t go dark, but they will add something to their usually-spartan homepage. It might be for the best. Can you imagine the freakout if people jumped online tomorrow morning and saw this: