Google plans censored version of search engine in China China 15:52

A security guard keeps watch as he walks past a logo of Google in Shanghai China

Some of Google's own employees were reportedly not happy about the prospect of offering a censored search to appease China's government. The Chinese government is well known for blocking a plethora of content ranging from any material that is critical of Communism, any references to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, pornography and even George Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm".

According to The Information, Google is developing a news-aggregation app for use in China that will comply with the country's censorship laws. "They collect much more data and Google can be requested to handover these data to the government". The company's workforce has pushed back in recent months on issues such as gender in the workplace and how artificial intelligence should be applied to weaponry.

Plans for Google's censored search product aren't completed and it may never come to fruition, the person said. "In putting profits before human rights, Google would be setting a chilling precedent and handing the Chinese government a victory". Accordingly, Google started to soften its rhetoric and tone on China within a couple of years after the Gmail hacking. The source stated that they feared "what is done in China will become a template for many other nations".

The "revised" search engine, which has been codenamed "Dragonfly" according to a report in TechCrunch, will block western services that are already outlawed in China, including Twitter, Instagram and Google itself.

But the Chinese government could nonetheless use Google as a chip in its negotiations with the American government, which has been critical of the way China limits market access for USA technology companies. "But reading how Google has plans to help China set up a censored search engine is very disturbing".

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Chinese authorities would have to approve any version before it is launched. The Chinese government is yet to give final approval, The Intercept said.

Afterall, how can a company turn a blind eye to the 700 million internet users living in China and the potential revenue loss by not able to make money out of their pockets?

It would seem, however, that access to the huge Chinese market was too good to resist for Google. Winning these people will be an uphill battle for Google, especially if it can not differentiate itself much from Baidu. If Google launches a search service in China, it's on the government's terms.

Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based researcher with human rights group Amnesty International, stated that Google's sudden willingness to work with regimes that censor information could be a "big disaster for the information age".

Google and other USA internet giants such as Facebook have made attempts to enter the lucrative Chinese market where the Great Firewall blocks access to their apps, website and services. Unlike many online publications, we don't have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.

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