Tech

Google plans censored version of search engine in China, says U.S

Google plans censored version of search engine in China, says U.S

Google is reportedly developing an Android app that will bring its search services back to China, with heavily restrictions on access to content that is deemed unfavourable by the ruling party.

Once the app is completed, if Google believes the product excels China's current leading search engine, Baidu, and it gets approved by China's government, Dragonfly would be the USA search giant's biggest step in the Chinese market.

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".

The dynamic changed in January 2010, when Google charged that Chinese hackers had targeted Google and more than 20 other Western companies and compromised the email accounts of Chinese dissidents living overseas.

The project is code named "Dragonfly" and has been underway since the spring of 2017, the news website said.

Google is not commenting on "speculation about future plans".

The tech giant had already come under fire this year from thousands of employees who signed a petition against a US$10-million contract with the U.S. military, which was not renewed.

In March 2010, it announced it had stopped running the censored Google.cn service and began routing its Chinese users to an uncensored version of Google based in Hong Kong.

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Pichai had said that Google helps a lot of Chinese companies, mainly small and medium enterprises, gain global access. CEO of Google Sunday Pichai is said to have already met with Chinese officials and the plans are now pending approval from mainland authorities.

Google is planning to launch a censored search engine in China?

It would also blacklist famous Western social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. and American news outlets like the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal that have been blocked by the Chinese government.

Currently, Google's search service can not be accessed in China, meaning that the company is missing out on quite a large ad market, something which this new project likely hopes to fix.

Furthermore, The Intercept also notes that Google's app won't show any results for specific words and phrases that have been banned by the government. It complied with Beijing's censorship laws.

However, it appears that Google has now had a change of heart, perhaps influenced by China's estimated 772 million internet users. Chief among the hurdles, Google would need approval to re-enter the search market from Chinese authorities, who now block. It said the project began to progress more quickly following a December meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and a senior Chinese government official.

It is unknown whether the firm will eventually launch a desktop version of its search platform in China as well. This gives Google a re-entry into the Chinese market but many see it as Google compromising on its own principles.


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