Google employees mad over reported plans for censored China search engine

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In early 2010, Google shut down its search engine in mainland China after rows over censorship and hacking. The documents reportedly reference a project codenamed Dragonfly that has been underway since spring 2017.

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 US search giant's biggest step in the Chinese market.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin, whose parents brought him to the United States to escape communist Russian Federation, led a dramatic exit from mainland China in 2010 after the company refused to self-censor search content.

"It will be a dark day for Internet freedom if Google has acquiesced to China's extreme censorship rules to gain market access", Patrick Poon, a China researcher for Amnesty, said in a statement.

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The Google.cn for China website is seen on a computer screen in this photo illustration.

Google plans to build a censored search engine for China, and condemnation is coming swift and hard from politicians, Google users, and even some Google employees.

"We provide a number of mobile apps in China". We now know this because one concerned individual close to the project chose to blow the whistle about what is going on to The Intercept.

Citing anonymous sources familiar with the plan-including a Google whistleblower who has "moral and ethical concerns" about his company's role in censorship-as well as confidential company documents, Gallagher reported that "programmers and engineers at Google have created a custom Android app" which "has already been demonstrated to the Chinese government; the finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from Chinese officials".

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Other Google employees on internal forums said staying away from China had not changed the course of the Chinese government or brought "any positive change", Bloomberg reported. The censorship will apply across the platform: Google's image search, automatic spell check and suggested search features will incorporate the blacklists, meaning that they will not recommend people information or photographs the government has banned. The (successful) refusal of Google staff to work for the U.S. military has proved that workers have a say in the company's future. "I'm committed to engaging more in China", he said.

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".

China's top internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Intercept.

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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The initiative is code-named Dragonfly and is one of several options the company is pursuing for returning to China, the people said, while noting timing is still up in the air.

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