Google is working on a mobile search app that would block certain search terms and allow it to reenter China after exiting eight years ago due to censorship and hacking, according to U.S. media reports.
Technology website The Intercept reported on Wednesday that Google has been secretly developing an app which would see the company operate its search engine in China for the first time since it shut down its core business in the country in 2010. That year, as the number of Internet users in the country continued to explode, the website boasted close to one-third of search-engine market share in China. Senators reassure allies on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation support Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Senate panel advances Trump's pick to be deputy Treasury secretary MORE (D-Ore.) also warned in a tweet that "Google would be making a disgusting mistake" if it moved to launch a censored search engine in China.
Google may be changing its tune when it comes to the largest single market for internet users. It's an Android app, and allegedly a finalized version has been shown to Chinese government officials.
According to the source that leaked internal documents about project Dragonfly, only a few hundred people at Google previously knew about the censored search engine being created. Google insiders don't know if China will approve the app amid an escalating trade dispute with the USA, but Search head Ben Gomes told staff last month to be ready to launch on short notice.
Any search terms or site that goes against the views of Chinese officials is subject to being removed from search results.
The Intercept reports Google's new app could launch within six to nine months, though The Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported separately, citing anonymous sources, that the product is only being tested and may never be deployed. There are now no plans to offer Google search on the desktop in China, but if the Android app gets approved it seems like an inevitable next step.
The censorship will be embedded in image search, spell check, and even suggested search.
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. For example, the country blocks information on the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. "Google is for everyone", he said. Sources indicate that some Google employees have also claimed that the escalating trade war between the USA and China means that approval for the finalization of this project won't necessarily be granted.
As per the report, Google's search app would automatically "identify and filter" all the content blocked by China's firewall.
The Intercept revealed some details about how the app might work.
China already has well-developed Google alternatives, most notably Baidu, a company that has thrived without having to worry about the Silicon Valley giant as a competitor.