Google wants to offer censored version of search app in China

Aug

1

2018

According to The Intercept, Google wants to publish a search app in China that censors results on certain sensitive topics. Google does not deny this, but says ‘not to comment on speculations about future plans’.

According to the information from the website The Intercept , which claims to be based on documents and sources within the search giant, Google designates the project around the custom Android app internally under the name Dragonfly. Their actual introduction would depend on two factors: the app must get approval from the Chinese government and must be better than the competitive search service of Chinese Baidu. Due to the trade war government approval would be uncertain, but Google would have instructed employees to make it possible to release the app in a short time. Within Google, only a few hundred employees of the project would be aware. Google would like to offer the service in the form of a joint venture with another party.

The sources of The Intercept say that the adapted app censors search results on topics such as human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protests. The BBC and Wikipedia would also be part of the filtered information sources. The work on the software would have started in the spring of 2017 and would have accelerated since a meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and senior Chinese government officials in December. According to The Intercept, Pichai has sought more rapprochement with China and the change in policy may have been prompted by the fact that China has a market of 750 million internet users.

Offering the search app means a fundamental change in Google’s policy towards China, according to the site. Google was already available in censored form between 2006 and 2010, but in that last year announced that it was leaving China because of censorship. An Amnesty International researcher told The Intercept that Google’s decision to offer a censored search app in China could also have consequences for the rest of the world, because this step would be a ‘terrible precedent’. Other companies also have to deal with the Chinese policy regarding internet services. For example, Apple removed vpn apps from the Chinese App Store .

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