Google has been blocked in China for years now. Last year, news surfaced of Google working on Project Dragonfly, a censored version of Google for China. Dragonfly was intended to give Google a way back to the country, give it access to a huge user base, and give Chinese internet users access to more information. Since the report on Project Dragonfly, Google has received multiple bad press from the US.
US Government Forces Google to Review DragonFly
Yesterday, Google deny reports that it is still working on Project Dragonfly. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said last year that Google had “no plans” to launch the “right now” censored search engine. The carefully chosen words seems to indicate that it is forced upon Google to review its ambition for China. The US government and Google employees seems to be the culprit behind Google’s decision to review its relationship with China. Google employees went as far as protesting, Evidently, pressuring Google to review Dragonfly is more important than working on improving its algorithm or going after businesses who buy Google reviews (or even getting them free Google reviews!). Even Vice President Mike Pence also stepped in to tell Google to stop working on the project and teased that the search giant should focus on dealing with fake Google reviews instead before the FTC steps in.
Google Review on DragonFly Insufficient
However, Google employees are not convinced. In December, employees spotted about 500 changes to code related to Dragonfly. A month later, yet another 400 changes were made to the code, indicating to the employees that the entire project was still going on. They also scrutinized the company’s budgeting plans and found evidence that under the spending budget associated with Project Dragonfly about 100 workers were still being grouped.
Anna Bacciarelli, a technology review at Amnesty International, said, “[Google is] not only failing on its human rights responsibilities but ignoring the hundreds of Google employees, more than 70 human rights organizations, and hundreds of thousands of campaign supporters around the world who have all called on the company to respect human rights and drop Dragonfly.”
All in all, many are still left wondering if the Google review intention is indeed to cancel the DragonFly project and its China ambition or merely buying time to relaunch in China.