Google to launch heavily censored version in China

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

With a population of just under 1.4 billion people, hundreds of millions of people are yet to come online, an untapped market that is roughly double that of the entirely of the population of the USA - a fact Google knows.

Whistleblowers within Google have outed plans to create a censored search engine for the Chinese market, originally leaking to the Intercept.

Google plans to release a search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, The Intercept reported on Wednesday.

Google in 2010, pulled back its search engine and many other relevant services from the country over government censorship.

In addition to censoring sites such as the BBC, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Wikipedia, the Chinese authorities also censor mentions of books that portray governments like China's in a poor light, such as 1984 and Animal Farm.

The news outlet says Google has been working on a project called Dragonfly since a year ago and has demonstrated a version of the censored search engine to Chinese officials.

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A Google spokesperson declined to comment on their plans for the future. As a result of this firewall, the vast majority of Chinese citizens are said to be largely unaware of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The main reason Google took its business out of China was that they believed in free speech and freedom of expression.

Last year, Apple removed hundreds of apps that allow users to avoid censorship from its download store in China at the request of the Beijing government.

"We reminded users in China every single day that they are looking at filtered results", said Tian, who worked at Google when the search engine launched. CEO of Google Sunday Pichai is said to have already met with Chinese officials and the plans are now pending approval from mainland authorities.

Depending on when the Chinese government approves the "toned down" Google, the app could launch anytime in the next 6-9 months. This stripped down version of Google Search is being made for the Chinese market.

The project is named Dragonfly and began in the spring of 2017, said sources close to the situation.

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But the report pummelled shares of US-listed Baidu, which dominates China's search engine market.

The company withdrew from providing search tools to the Chinese market in 2010, and its global search engine is blocked by the country's so-called "Great Firewall". Although there's not direct evidence, the implication is that Google may have been given the green light to return to China if it complies with government restrictions.

Although China's internet penetration is just over 50 per cent, its sheer scale means that there are three times the number of smartphone users and 11 times the number of mobile payment users in China than in the USA, according to the report.

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

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

Apparently, talks between Google and Chinese officials have been ongoing for some time. "We do not want to give users something that's illegal or something that's under our borderline".

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