After withdrawing its search services in China for a number of years, Google has been making effort to re-enter the market with a censored version of Google Search known as Dragonfly. Speaking about the project for the first time, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has revealed that tests are going “very well.”
Global domination of the search world has long been Google’s aim, a goal which Pichai told Wired is steadily getting closer. “It turns out we’ll be able to serve well over 99 per cent of the queries. We are compelled by our mission [to] provide information to everyone, and [China is] 20 per cent of the world’s population.”
Dragonfly came about as an idea to test what re-entry into China would look like, with trials being conducted internally. “Given how important the market is and how many users there are, we feel obliged to think hard about this problem and take a longer-term view,” says Pichai.
A number of concerns arose in September, 2018 with many claiming that the project violates a number of basic human rights and enables the authoritarianism of the Chinese government. Pichai defended the project, revealing that “there are many, many areas where we would provide information better than what’s available,” such as stomping out misinformation like “fake cancer treatments.”
Pichai states that “people don’t understand fully, but you’re always balancing a set of values” in each individual country. While this extends to freedom of expression and general access to information in most countries, Google still must “follow the rule of law in every country” it enters.
KitGuru Says: It’s easy to see human rights concerns regarding Google’s latest efforts, but access to a curated search engine is still better than no access at all. How do you feel about Google indulging China’s censorship?