Google is said to be planning on returning to China with a censored version of its search engine. The company was shut down in 2010 in the country citing Chinese government’s attempts of restricting “free speech” on the web.
The Intercept, an investigative news site, mentions that the project has the codename “Dragonfly“. Google has been working on it since 2017 the report said.
The project has caught pace since December 2017 after a meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Chinese Government official, The Intercept reports.
The programmers at Google have developed two different versions of the Android app, “Longfei” and “Maotai”.
The versions have already been presented to the Chinese government.
The app will be ready to launch in the next six to nine months after approval from the Chinese Government.
What would a censored search engine mean?
A censored search engine would mean that the search engine giant would comply with the norms of the Chinese Government.
This means that all the subjects deemed sensitive by the Chinese Government will be blocked and the users will not have access to that information.
This sensitive data includes everything related to religion, politics, human rights, democracy, and free speech.
The Great Firewall of China
Google is currently inaccessible in the country as the Great Firewall blocks it and makes it inaccessible to its citizens.
Along with Google, Duckduckgo, Bing, any other completely unfiltered search engine, and certain social media sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook among others too are inaccessible in the Country.
While the Great Firewall heavily censors the information which talks about religion, free speech, police brutality, democracy, some specific topics such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and Taiwanese independence are complete.
Why does Google want to return to China?
Simple: China has a huge market. With over 750 million internet users in China, it’s a difficult market to stay away from.
In this, more than half the internet users access the internet from their mobile devices.
However, before being able to start operating in China, Google has to comply with all the restrictions imposed by the Chinese government.
Baidu currently leads the Chinese market and will be Google’s biggest competitor.
To get a hold of the market, Google needs to present a dramatically better product to the users as compared to their competitors.
Nevertheless, Google will have to provide something that their competitors are not providing to the users to gain a user base in China.
You May Also Like to Read:
Will Google’s Hyper-local Social Network Neighbourly App beat Facebook?
Google One – Google’s new storage service