New censored google search engine for China

Google China

Google China

The search engine is being built as an Android mobile app, and will reportedly "blacklist sensitive queries" and filter out all websites blocked by China's web censors (including Wikipedia and BBC News).

Search engines - one of the most important things in the world in this day and age - thus, serve no goal in China.

But a Chinese official later confirmed that Google had been in touch with China's cyber authorities, and a Google employee tells Reuters the project is alive and genuine.

Sen. Marco Rubio and even some Google employees are among those criticizing the company. But jumping back into China presents ethical issues for Google (GOOGL), which has long advocated a free and open internet. "Google is for everyone", he said.

At the time, Google staffers wrote an open letter to company CEO Sundar Pichai, which read in part, "We can not outsource the moral responsibility of our technologies to third parties".

A laptop screen displaying the landing page google.cn, which linked to an uncensored Hong Kong site on July 1, 2010, in Beijing. There are now no plans to offer Google search on the desktop in China, but if the Android app gets approved it seems like an inevitable next step.

China already has well-developed Google alternatives, most notably Baidu, a company that has thrived without having to worry about the Silicon Valley giant as a competitor. What is to stop Facebook and Twitter to approach the Chinese government again, and agreeing to send an error message every time one tries to tweet about, or write a post about an activist like Liu Xiaobo?

About three months later, Google made good on a threat to stop offering search in China. Google insiders don't know if China will approve the app amid an escalating trade dispute with the US, but Search head Ben Gomes told staff last month to be ready to launch on short notice. The app will limit searches to exclude information not approved by the Chinese government, like results about sex or political dissidence. It will set a bad precedent for many other companies who are still trying to do business in China while maintaining the principles of not succumbing to China's censorship. With a population of just under 1.4 billion people, hundreds of millions of people are yet to come online, an untapped market that is roughly double that of the entirely of the population of the US - a fact Google knows.

While Google did remove the "evil" thing from this code of conduct, it did leave this mention right at the end: "And remember... don't be evil, and if you see something that you think isn't right - speak up!" But they said that it was unclear at this point if the app would be launched - partly because of the negative publicity surrounding the Intercept's story and partly due to the ongoing tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade.

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