Google is developing a censored search engine for China

04 August, 2018, 17:46 | Author: Julian Harrison
  • Google China

It comes as China steps up scrutiny into business dealings involving U.S. tech firms including Facebook.

Google (GOOG, GOOGL) reportedly plans to launch a censored version of its search engine in China. Back in 2006, Google unfortunately chose to give into pressure from the Chinese government, and agreed to launch a censored version of its site in China.

Separate reports by Reuters and New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter or working at Google, also confirmed the existence of Project Dragonfly, adding that its existence does not necessarily mean that it has approval from authorities and is not likely to launch anytime soon.

Google responded to the report in a statement to The Verge saying, "we don't comment on speculation about future plans".

Last year, Google said that its second innings will resolve around Artificial Intelligence.

Google has been heavily restricted in China since 2010.

The initiative would represent the first time in nearly a decade that Google has operated its search engine in the country, whose Great Firewall now blocks its service.

The work followed a meeting between Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official.




Google's new technology has reportedly been in development for over a year and has already been demonstrated for Chinese government officials.

The most recent report about its pending strategy suggests Google engineers built a custom Android app, the two versions named "Maotai" and "Longfei".

Google would be making a ugly mistake by helping China's authoritarian government censor the internet and suppress dissent.

According to the report, a few hundred people within Google are aware of the Dragonfly project, with one whistleblower speaking out because of ethical concerns, Business Insider reported. Due to the censorship related issue, the tech giant Google was reluctant to launch its services in China.

What has been censored in China's has varied somewhat over the years.

Afterall, how can a company turn a blind eye to the 700 million internet users living in China and the potential revenue loss by not able to make money out of their pockets?

"Google said it wouldn't bow to Beijing's censorship, and it should stick to its word, especially now that it's canceled its partnership with our military". The app Google is building for China will comply with the country's strict censorship laws, restricting access to content that Xi Jinping's Communist Party regime deems unfavorable.

The platform will "blacklist sensitive queries", the report claimed, preventing access to websites now blocked by the so-called Great Firewall. One employee told Bloomberg the project was a "censorship engine", while several employees "expressed their disappointment about the China project on internal messaging platforms", according to the Times. "They won't help ⁦Department of Defense⁩ keep us safe but they will help China suppress the truth?"

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