@AC 16/04/2012 17:53 Google are not philanthropists
The fact of the matter is, this won't happen. As much as people like to think, Google isn't a philanthropic organisation, sworn to protect all free speech on the internet. Google is a publicly-traded for-profit company with a market in advertising and web analysis, and a swarm of shareholders to keep happy.
As projects like Freenet and Tor undermine the traceability of users, which is the cornerstone of their whole profit-making operations that subsidise the squishy PR parts of Google, there's no way they will invest anything significant into their R&D.
They have provided some small contribution to Tor (under $100k incl. stipends paid out to GSoC participants according to their website), but this is another part of their PR creed of "Do No Evil". It's not enough to make a significant inroad to censorship prevention, and it's certainly not enough to turn it into global censorship resistant network capable of supporting the world's general population. What Google can do and what they will do are not the same.
As for the Hong Kong move, that was most likely a business move with a PR to appeal to Western consumers. My assumption is that their boardroom felt that the cost of complying with Chinese takedown orders frequently wasn't worth continuing in that market, especially considering they probably felt helpless to compete with a Chinese company that probably had big friends in the party and the national pride of a large part of the billion-strong population.