Google has been developing a censored version of its search engine under the codename "Dragonfly" since the start of previous year, according to a report published Wednesday by The Intercept, which cites internal documents provided by a whistleblower.
Google had a similar version of its search engine available in China between 2006 and 2010, but eventually made a decision to retreat from the country following harsh criticism from the United States for its compliance with the government's censorship.
The news emerged in a piece from The Intercept, which obtained documents about an internal Google project to relaunch a search service in mainland China, complete with government censorship.
Google is facing backlash following a report that it plans to provide a censored search engine for China.More news: Rays taking a low-cost, low-risk bet on Tommy Pham
The platform will "blacklist sensitive queries", the report claimed, preventing access to websites now blocked by the so-called Great Firewall.
In January, the search engine joined an investment in Chinese live-stream mobile game platform Chushou, and earlier this month launched an artificial intelligence game on Tencent Holdings Ltd. social media app WeChat.
The Intercept said the project, code-named Dragonfly, has been in development since a year ago. A Google representative told Business Insider, "We don't comment on speculation about future plans".
Any search terms or site that goes against the views of Chinese officials is subject to being removed from search results.More news: Apple hits $1 trillion stock market valuation
"Xi Jinping's repressive regime, by forcing Google to abide by its censorship, wins a battle against the free circulation of information over the internet". In essence, it will be blacklisting certain websites and search terms regarding democracy, human rights, religion, and more. The company has now allegedly built an Android app that Google has demonstrated to the Chinese government and could launch in 2019.
"China is a tremendous opportunity for any company because it is by far the single largest homogeneous market", said Kai Fu Lee, who headed Google's China operations before the company left in 2010. Chief among the hurdles, Google would need approval to re-enter the search market from Chinese authorities, who now block.
Google is reportedly planning to get back into China, a lucrative market where it has a long history of tangling with authorities..
Google's Chinese search app would remove banned websites from the first page of results. Like, plans to re-launch a China-optimised version of Google Play. Google has more than 88,000 employees. "We don't need a second Baidu", a Chinese data researcher adds, per the New York Times, which adds that Google's own employees have quit or refused to work on the apps, which they apparently think flouts the company's own motto: "Do the right thing". He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association.More news: Trump Pushes for Mueller Interview to Clear His Name