The Intercept: Google plans censored search in China; Baidu -7
The Intercept: Google plans censored search in China; Baidu -7
04 August, 2018, 17:49
China has hundreds of millions of internet users and a thriving online shopping market, making it impossible for USA tech companies to ignore.
Talks between Google and the Chinese government over the censored search engine began before the start of the recent trade war between the United States and China, one of the people said.
Google has been developing a censored version of its search engine under the codename "Dragonfly" since the start of a year ago, according to a report published Wednesday by The Intercept, which cites internal documents provided by a whistleblower. Google has not offered search services in China since it largely exited the country in 2010.
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.
Google is planning to release a censored version of its search app in China, according to a report from The Intercept.
A Google spokesperson declined to comment on their plans for the future.
Google has had quite the roller coaster ride with China.
Google's main search platform has been blocked in China since 2010, but it has been attempting to make new inroads into China. Progress picked up following a meeting in December between a top government official of Beijing and Google's CEO Sundar Pichai. The report claimed that a finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending formal approval from Chinese officials.
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Patrick Poon, who is a Hong Kong-based researcher for Amnesty International has said that the censored search engine will be "a big disaster for the information age".
Although talks between Google and the Chinese government are believed to be ongoing, they may be overshadowed by the developing trade conflict between the U.S. and China, which shows little sign of abating at the moment. Due to the censorship related issue, the tech giant Google was reluctant to launch its services in China.
"Google has been working on the app since past year and had been meeting with Chinese regulators to discuss the project", said the report, citing sources.
Indeed, only approved content is allowed behind the so called "Great Firewall" of China for its 650 million Internet users.
The censorship will apply to Google image search, automatic spell check and suggested search features. "It is impossible to see how such a move is compatible with Google's "Do the right thing" motto, and we are calling on the company to change course".
China has one of the strictest censorship regimes in the world, according to HRW.
Google's re-entry into China will see it compete with Baidu, which now has nearly 70 per cent of the domestic search market, according to data by StatCounter Global Stats.
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