Google to launch censored search engine "Dragonfly" in China

Report: Google's Plan to Launch Censored Search Engine in China Revealed

Most internet users in China can not now access Google Search.

Fast forward eight years, and Chinese internet companies are some of the largest on the planet, with much of their success forged on an uneven home playing field on which western companies have been unable to compete.

Google has declined to comment on the subject, but the reports have pummeled shares of US -listed Baidu, which dominates China's search engine market.

The project is code-named Dragonfly, an Intercept report notes, and has been secretly in development since last spring, accelerating after a December 2017 meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and the Kissinger of China, Wang Huning, who's a top foreign policy adviser of China's President Xi.

The mobile search app will block some websites and search terms according to two sources.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment on their plans for the future. It's unclear if Google will get the green light from Chinese officials with the escalating trade dispute with the U.S.

Google's Android already has the largest market share of any operating system in China, now accounting for roughly 51 percent of all devices. The app, according to the documents, will "blacklist sensitive queries" and filter websites already blocked by Chinese authorities.

Google's main search platform is blocked in China along with its video platform YouTube - but it has been trying to make new inroads into China and its rapidly expanding economy.

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The company made a decision to quicken the development of a censored search service after Pichai met with top government official Wang Huning in December 2017, the Intercept reported.

The final version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending Chinese official's approval.

Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based researcher with human rights group Amnesty International, stated that Google's sudden willingness to work with regimes that censor information could be a "big disaster for the information age".

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

This has very serious implications not just for China, but for all of us, for freedom of information and internet freedom. Furthermore, Google's ability to deliver censored search might convince other governments to require similar apps to allow Google to operate in those countries. Whether or not tech companies should enable censorship and the following oppression of a nation's people is open to debate.

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. "They won't help ⁦Department of Defense⁩ keep us safe but they will help China suppress the truth?"

On Chinese social media this week, some people cheered the news of Google's possible China re-entry, saying that they welcomed competition with Baidu, which has faced scandals over its search results related to medical treatment.

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