Google has reportedly ended China search project

It looks like Google's controversial Chinese Dragonfly project has been binned

It looks like Google's controversial Chinese Dragonfly project has been binned

According to sources close to Google's team developing the Dragonfly "Censorship engine" for the Chinese market, the project has "effectively ended", at least for now, reports the Intercept. Now several engineers have actually been moved from Dragonfly, with the project now shelved according to The Intercept's sources within Google.

Amnesty International activists hold a giant dragonfly-shaped balloon with a banner reading "Google, do not censor in China, no to the Dragonfly project" during a protest outside the Google headquarters in Madrid on November 27, 2018 as part of a campaign calling on Google to cancel its controversial plan to launch a censored search engine in China.

The engineers used the data they pulled from to learn about the kinds of things that people located in mainland China routinely search for in Mandarin. But now that the privacy team is in on the project, it led to a falling out, and essentially killing the project. After all, Search and Ads are still over 90-percent of Google's revenue, and if it can crack the Chinese market, that number could grow pretty astonishingly. Through this process, the engineers compiled a list of thousands of banned websites, which they integrated into the Dragonfly search platform so that it would purge links to websites prohibited in China, such as those of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and British news broadcaster BBC.

Rumors of a possible reentry to China made headlines when they were first reported in August. It would also have linked users' searches to personal phone numbers. Sergey Brin, who was at the helm of Google when the company shut down its China operation in 2010 as a protest, spent his childhood in the former Soviet Union, therefore had first-hand understanding of what censorship is about. For Google to operate in China, it will have to violate widely held worldwide human rights standards. In light of this, Google launched the Dragonfly project. Leakers also claimed that Google's privacy team had been denied access to the project, something the company denied. The site operated normally news bulletin with few web search function and general interests which directly routed all the queries to Baidu and then Google was supposed to censor the results and metadata.

"Going ahead with Project Dragonfly would represent a massive capitulation on human rights by one of the world's most powerful companies".

It's understandable why the privacy concerns would bring Dragonfly to a standstill.

A Google spokesman did not comment, but pointed to Mr Pichai's testimony in Washington last week, in which he said: "Right now there are no plans for us to launch a search product in China".

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