Published: Thu, October 18, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Sundar Pichai says Google still planning a censored search engine in China

Sundar Pichai says Google still planning a censored search engine in China

In his letter he also claimed that discussion of the plans among Google employees had been "increasingly stifled".

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai commented publicly for the first time on the company's efforts to launch a censored search engine in China.

While onstage at WIRED 25, however, Pichai said working on a search engine is in line with the company's mission to "provide information to everyone", noting that China contains about 20% of the world's population.

Google initially withdrew its search service from China in 2010 due to increased concerns about censorship and cyber attacks. China's mobile market was highly dominated by Android devices until Chinese competitors developed an alternative to Google's operating system.

The platform, which still requires Chinese government approval, would reportedly block or eliminate certain websites and search terms related to human rights and religion. Pichai described it as being important for us to explore more.

"We deeply respect what they do to protect our country", he said.

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It also reinforces the Syrian government's message that it is slowly emerging victorious from the seven-year conflict. He also noted "we hope that the crossing between the Syrian city of Abu Kamal and Iraq would be reopened soon".

Google has been planning for a long time to emerge on the Chinese market with a search engine specially designed for the Asian country.

Pichai said Monday that, if it was back in operation in China, Google would be able to give users there better information than they can now get on subjects such as cancer. Pichai maintains Google's principles would be advanced by reentering the lucrative Chinese market.

'Today people either get fake cancer treatments or they actually get useful information, ' he said.

Earlier this month, U.S. vice-president Mike Pence called for Google to immediately halt work on Dragonfly, saying in a speech that it would "strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers". He also justified the company's decision by saying it follows "the rule of law in every country".

For its critics, Project Dragonfly's existence means Google has reneged on the values it avowed nine years ago.

Given that the mainland market harbors hundreds of middle-class users, whose personal data Google and its tech rivals are eager to exploit for profits, Pichai said Google was obligated to "think hard" about the problem of returning to China, and that USA companies shouldn't scuttle what could be an enormously profitable initiative just because it would require making a few ethically dubious concessions to a totalitarian state. That includes being open to plans for working with the Government in the future, perhaps in areas including cybersecurity and transportation planning.

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