Censored Search Engine?
It has emerged that Google is planning to release a new search engine for the Chinese market that will conform to Chinese regulations on censorship. This search engine will conform to Chinese regulations. Google has previously operated a search engine in the country until it shutdown the branch due to censorship issues. It now appears as if their stance on the issues have changed, and are eager to operate in China once more. The project, which has yet to be confirmed by Google or Chinese officials, is codenamed Dragonfly. Dragonfly will omit a wide range of results from its search engine result pages, including religion and human rights.
Is Google Already in China?
One spokesperson that didn’t accept the claims as being true, did say that this shouldn’t be as surprised. Google already has a lot of involvement in China with its own apps and partnerships and investments in tech companies. They currently have approximately 700 employees working in the country and 3 separate offices. Just last year their Chinese version of the Google translate app was launched after passing regulatory approval. Google’s already strong foothold in China includes an investment in Chinese live-streaming esports platform Chushou.
When is it going to be live?
The project is said to have begun sometime in the spring of 2017, and after a meeting between Google CEO and high-ranking Chinese government official in December of the same year project Dragonfly was accelerated. It is now believed that the Chinese Google could be launched in the first quarter of 2019. Now keep in mind that neither Google, Chinese government representatives or Chinese media outlets have confirmed the speculation.
How will it work?
This version of Google would work by blacklisting certain results pages. I’m assuming they would look something similar to the copyright infringement disclaimer placed on traditional Google result pages.
Internally at Google this news has not been taken to very well, many have expressed their concern. However Google CEO believes that Google should be all encompassing and serve everyone, Chinese users included, even if that means tweaking the algorithm. Amnesty International is one activist group that has expressed disbelief over the speculation, saying if the plans go through it will be a dark day for internet freedom. China has a history of blocking such websites as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. A Google’s censored search engine would have to completely block topics like Tiananmen Square protests, free speech, religion, human rights, anti communism activity among many others.