Google has always been a historical ambassador of “open data” and freedom of speech, which is why it decided to leave China, eight years ago.
Today, The Intercept confirmed what Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai shared at the 25 Wired Summit: Google is developing a “censored” version of it search engine for the Chinese market.
While it created numerous foundations to enable children in developing countries to get access to Internet, creating the biggest online museum online and other philanthropical initiatives, Google has firmly repeatedly said it would not censor itself.
While Facebook, Twitter, and many other Internet giants from the Western world are refusing to adapt their products to the Chinese regime, Pichai seems to make a move towards a new identity for Google – albeit putting its main following and investors at risk. Analysis.
In the nineties – more exactly, in 1998 – Google launched its first search engine. The philosophy of the company was initially to have the most unbiased search engine, while being able to predict the needs of a user. IN other words: stay unbiased and offer knowledge for free.
Twenty years later, and with a new CEO on board, Google has switched gears. On Monday, the 2015 appointed CEO Sundar Pichai confirmed a project of a censored version of Google in China. Named “Project Dragonfly”, he justified this decision by the growing population. This information was confirmed by the investigative news website The Intercept.
“We are compelled by our mission to provide information to everyone, and China is 20 percent of the world’s population.”, said Pichai on stage at the 25 Wired Summit, earlier on this week.
A different set of values
While asked by journalists what was the Californian Google employees’ opinion on the project, Google’s CEO politely replied that there was always an important exercise of “balancing the set of values” from a country to another.
He justified the project saying Dragonfly could help the Chinese population to have access to a better kind of information through Google News. Truth revealed, Google wants to take over Baidu’s market, as the Chinese population has never been so important and wealthy.
— Business Chief (@Business_Chief) October 16, 2018
Pichai said that Google has agreed on 99 percent of the queries from the Chinese government and the project should be confirmed very soon.
A new perpective
When journalists asked why Google decided to come back after eight years, Google’s CEO justified this choice by the fact that Google was judging Chinese’s policy from a Western perspective – and has changed its way of seeing the reality since.
“Throughout Google’s history, we’ve given our employees a lot of voice and say, But we don’t we don’t run the company by holding referendums. It’s more also the debate within the AI Community around how you perceive our work in this area” he said during Wired 25 Summit.
— Tech Junkie (@techjunkiejh) October 13, 2018
In other words, Google is putting its reputation at risk, while employees’ opinion is no longer needed, although seem to be very upset on the situation.
The new engine for China will reportedly blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protests.
Read our latest in-depth: Is it the end of the Chinese Miracle?