Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Google said to be building censored search engine for return to China

Report: Google's Plan to Launch Censored Search Engine in China Revealed Google allegedly working on censored search engine for Chinese market
| 04 August, 2018, 17:50

China has hundreds of millions of internet users and a thriving online shopping market, making it impossible for U.S. tech companies to ignore.

According to a report in The Intercept, Google is going to formally re-enter the Chinese search market.

You might have read reports of Google planning to return to China with a Censored Search Engine.

Code-named Dragonfly, this project has reportedly been in the works since the spring season a year ago, and apparently started moving quicker after a meeting in December between Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, and a top Chinese government official. "Google claims to value freedom and one hopes Google will put its corporate principles and America first, ahead of Chinese cash", Cotton said in a statement.

If Google does relaunch in mainland China, it would represent a major u-turn. It has reportedly been demonstrated to the Chinese authorities and might see a commercial launch within the next six to nine months.

Google is preparing a version of its search engine for China that blocks results Beijing considers sensitive, according to people familiar with the situation.

It is still in the approval phase from China but it has been given the go-ahead from both Google's CEO Sundar Pichai and an unnamed Chinese government official.

Amnesty International researcher Patrick Poon told The Intercept that Google working with the Chinese government sets a "terrible precedent" for other international companies, calling the development of the search engine "a big disaster for the information age". In a congressional hearing that year on the activities of US technology companies in China, Google was called a "functionary of the Chinese government".


According to a Google employee who worked on Dragonfly and talked to the Intercept, information about the project was restricted to a "few hundred" employees.

Google's strength in mobile would certainly give the company a lead in search and advertising services.

Any search terms or site that goes against the views of Chinese officials is subject to being removed from search results.

"We believe that Google's return to China is unlikely in the near-term due to the strained relationship between China and USA on trade", Mizuho tech analyst James Lee said in a research note.

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

There were an estimated 772 million internet users in China as of the end of past year, with internet availability sitting at only 55.8 percent of the population.

When Google pulled out of China in 2010, co-founder Sergey Brin voiced strong objections to any form of censorship having been born in the Soviet Union. "They won't help ⁦Department of Defense⁩ keep us safe but they will help China suppress the truth?" The country's entire internet is effectively "surrounded" by its Great Firewall of China, a joint effort by the state and tech and telecommunications companies to censor the web in accordance with Chinese law.

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