Google-CEO Sundar Pichai has for the first time publicly discussed the plans of the Internet giant to re-enter the Chinese market. The plans – known internally as Project Dragonfly – had previously been the subject of much criticism, including employees of the company and the White House.
According to Pichai, the Chinese market is “important to investigate” because of its size and the likelihood that it will become the largest and most lucrative population using the Internet on the planet. “We wanted to find out what it would look like if Google were present in China,” says Pichai-san according to The Verge. “It’s still very early and I don’t know if we can and will do this in China, but it was important for us to investigate.”
There have been rumors for some time about Google wanting to enter the Chinese market with a search engine. In September, this project was confirmed during a meeting with the American Congress. However, there is a lot of criticism of the plans. Several employees signed a public letter calling on the company to stop the project.
Critics are now afraid that the Chinese version of the search engine is being used by the government to use freedom of speech as a weapon. In September, for example, The Intercept reported that the search engine would link searches to personal phone numbers, allowing the Chinese government to keep an eye on users. Pichai didn’t respond to those messages during the call.
In addition, the search engine would contribute to censorship, because a black list of certain search terms has been drawn up. This would include terms such as ‘human rights’, ‘student protests’ and ‘Nobel Prize’. Searches would be filtered and censored in this way, so that the Chinese government could agree to them.
Now, for the first time, Pichai has spoken in public about the plans. “It turns out that we can offer more than 99 percent of the searches that users request,” according to the CEO according to Wired. “There are many areas in which we can offer better information than is currently available, such as cancer searches. “Now people get to see either fake cancer treatments, or actually useful information.”
He also paid attention to the criticism of Project Dragonfly. People don’t fully understand that you always have to balance a set of values in a new country,” he says, “which includes providing access to information, freedom of speech and user privacy. “But we also follow all the laws in every country.”This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.