Published: Sat, August 04, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Disappointing: Google Makes Plan To Return To China With Censored Search Engine

Disappointing: Google Makes Plan To Return To China With Censored Search Engine

Google isn't just reported to be working on a censored search engine for the Chinese market-according to a new article from The Information, it's also developing a censored news aggregation app for China. However, the state-owned Securities Daily cited "relevant departments" as saying reports of the return of Google to the Chinese market were not true.

Amnesty International said it would be a "dark day for internet freedom" and would constitute "a gross attack on freedom of information and internet freedom" if the tech giant accepted China's censorship terms.

The most recent report about its pending strategy suggests Google engineers built a custom Android app, the two versions named "Maotai" and "Longfei". Progress picked up following a meeting in December between a top government official of Beijing and Google's CEO Sundar Pichai.

China has been the biggest hole in Google's global footprint since it withdrew in 2010.

Others questioned whether a heavily censored Google might be useful. The app, according to the documents, will "blacklist sensitive queries" and filter websites already blocked by Chinese authorities.

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 has had quite the roller coaster ride with China. If approved by the government officials, the app could launch in the next 6 to 9 months.

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According to The Intercept's Ryan Gallagher, who first reported on the tech giant's plans on Wednesday, "The project-code-named Dragonfly-has been underway since spring of past year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google's CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official".

Facebook's website is also banned in China but the company has also signalled its interest to enter the market.

A Google spokeswoman told Business Insider: "We provide a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like JD.com".

Google exited the Chinese mainland in 2010 after clashing with Beijing over the censorship of search results and a cyberattack on users of its Gmail email service.

China infamously maintains extensive censorship of the internet with strict legislation in place to regulate domestic internet usage.

The "Great Firewall" mentioned above is China's internet censorship program and blocks individuals from seeing online content relating to free speech, certain news topics, sex, and more. "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. In other words, after pulling out of China on account of the local censorship laws, which have only become worse since then, Google seems ready to return and accept the government's requests.

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