According to a recent report from The Intercept, Google is planning to relaunch its search engine in China, meeting all the Chinese government’s censorship requirements.
Back in 2010, the Internet giant withdrew its services from China due to strict censorship. Now Google is clawing its way back into the world’s largest Internet market, with a censored version of their search engine under the codename “Dragonfly”. The first platform to be developed is an Android app that is expected to be finalized in the upcoming six to nine months, claims The Intercept.
The appeal of 750 million Internet users would be quite tempting to anyone, yet this news about Google has been met with some negativity, and may be considered as showing support for the totalitarian regime in China. “This has very serious implications not just for China, but for all of us, for freedom of information and Internet freedom. It will set a terrible precedent for many other companies who are still trying to do business in China while maintaining the principles of not succumbing to China’s censorship. The biggest search engine in the world obeying the censorship in China is a victory for the Chinese government – it sends a signal that nobody will bother to challenge the censorship any more,” said Patrick Poon, a researcher for Amnesty International in his comment to The Intercept.
This renewed drive by Google is said to be initiated by Sundar Pichai, who started his position as CEO of the company in 2015. In 2016, Sundar openly expressed his intentions to return to the Chinese market, and recently the company rolled out their Files Go app and Guess the Sketch game for the WeChat application in China. Despite the lack of official announcement regarding this subject from Google, it is clear that the tech titan is on the way to expanding its horizons in the massive Chinese market.