Google's censored Chinese search engine has officially been shuttered
After months of flak, Google has officially confirmed that it has shuttered Project Dragonfly, the secretive effort to mark an entry into China. The company stopped operations in China years ago, but then, under the leadership of CEO Sundar Pichai, it started working on a dedicated 'censored' search engine for the country. Here's all about the project and its termination.
Google hoped to censor information with its search engine
Under Project Dragonfly, Google hoped to offer Chinese citizens a platform to access information in accordance with the Chinese government's strict censorship guidelines. Meaning, the search engine was designed to automatically identify and exclude websites blocked by China's so-called Great Firewall, including those featuring content related to democracy, human rights, free speech, religion, peaceful protests, and much more.
The work drew flak from Google employees
Notably, the initial rumors of the search engine's development - and the ensuing confirmation from Google - triggered a wave of backlash at the company and around the world. Several employees, even Amnesty International, protested against the search engine, raising questions over the ethical implications of a project like this. Ultimately, word started coming out that the project has been canceled.
Google's Vice President confirmed the Dragonfly's end
Just recently, Google's Vice President of Public Policy, Karan Bhatia, confirmed Dragonfly's end, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that the work on the censored search engine has been terminated. Even a spokesperson for the company noted that there are no plans to launch in China and that they are not working on a project like this.
Reason behind shutdown remains unclear
Though it seems Google heard its employees' concerns, there is no way to be sure about the reason behind Dragonfly's end. Perhaps the company faced roadblocks in the search engine's development or, maybe, the Chinese government denied approving the project.