Google allegedly working on censored search engine for Chinese market

Chinese media denies reports of Google's return to country

Alphabet Inc's Google is planning a censored version of its search engine for China that will block websites and certain search terms, The Intercept reported on Wednesday citing internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.

Google is facing backlash following a report that it plans to provide a censored search engine for China.

Google programmers and engineers have reportedly made an Android app that's already been shown to the Chinese government.

It's a reversal of its stance from eight years ago, when Google left China in protest of the country's censorship.

The saga of Google's China operations has been a depressing one for the world's pre-eminent search engine, after a high-profile falling out with the Communist Party in 2009.

Almost a decade ago, in January 2010, Google abruptly exited the Chinese market after Gmail was hacked by entities or individuals associated with the Chinese government, seeking to identify and crack down on human-rights activists.

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Hopefully, that might change in the coming future as the search giant is working on a "censored" version of Google Search, according to the leaked documents seen by The Intercept. "In putting profits before human rights, Google would be setting a chilling precedent and handing the Chinese government a victory".

"WTF!" Google researcher Meredith Whittaker wrote on Twitter, describing the company's move as "enabling mass politically-directed censorship of (AI-enabled) search". China subsequently blocked Google's services on the mainland.

If you take a look at Google's global disruption map, China is among the handful number of red-colored countries that don't allow its services. "Google claims to value freedom and one hopes Google will put its corporate principles and America first, ahead of Chinese cash", Cotton said in a statement.

Under development for more than a year, the project includes two Android apps, called Maotai and Longfei, which could be launch within a matter of months if approval was gained. 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. This censorship will happen across the board, with elements like image search, spell check, and search suggestions hiding keywords blocked on request of the Chinese government. A writer, professor, human rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize victor and dissident, Xiaobo had been an enemy of the Communist regime in China since taking part in the student protests in 1989 - protests that led to the bloody Tiananmen Square Massacre. It said the project began to progress more quickly following a December meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and a senior Chinese government official.

Last month, the senator criticized US airlines for acquiescing to the Chinese government's demands that they remove references to Taiwan from their websites.

China's government goes to great lengths to control its citizens' access to information on the Internet, creating what's been dubbed the "Great Firewall". The Intercept reported that such terms would be censored in the planned app.

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