Google may be changing its tune when it comes to the largest single market for internet users.

The news emerged in a piece from The Intercept, which obtained documents about an internal Google project to relaunch a search service in mainland China, complete with government censorship.

Google could be preparing to launch a search engine in China that would conform to the country's strict censorship laws, after previously opting out of the country in 2010.

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.

The Intercept also reports that Google CEO Sundar Pichai met with a senior Chinese government official in December previous year and the government has been shown the service and Android app working. The company reportedly is going to offer censorship of keywords and topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese government, including "human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest".


Google said in response to a request for comment that it doesn't "comment on speculation about future plans". If Google launches a search service in China, it's on the government's terms.

The Google China headquarters in Beijing in 2010. Revenue rose, but shares fell Wednesday as investors reacted to a report that Google would launch a new censored search engine in China.

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.

Separately, a Chinese official with knowledge of the plans said that Google has been in contact with authorities at the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) about a modified search program. In a congressional hearing that year on the activities of US technology companies in China, Google was called a "functionary of the Chinese government".

"This has very serious implications not just for China, but for all of us, for freedom of information and internet freedom", Poon said.


There was no guarantee the project would result in Google search returning to China. The project, apparently code-named Dragonfly, has been in development since last spring.

What has been censored in China's has varied somewhat over the years.

If you take a look at Google's global disruption map, China is among the handful number of red-colored countries that don't allow its services.

Alviani told HKFP: "After Apple's decision to remove VPNs from its Chinese store and to host its Chinese iCloud on local servers, Google's decision would set a new precedent that could encourage other major online contents distributors, especially Facebook and Linkedin, to abide by the Chinese censorship model". "They won't help ⁦Department of Defense⁩ keep us safe but they will help China suppress the truth?"


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