Published: Wed, October 17, 2018
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Project Dragonfly - what Google would look like in China

Project Dragonfly - what Google would look like in China

Pichai has made it clear that the dissenters are being heard, but ultimately wants to protect Google from being shunned by other companies also working on AI.

However, eventually, Google pulled out of China completely in 2010 after several large-scale attacks on the company purportedly by the Chinese government.

Information regarding Google's "Dragonfly" project began surfacing in August and since then the company has faced severe backlash from its employees as well as the USA government.

Despite the promising test results, Pichai said the company is still in very early stages of exploring the opportunity of re-releasing Google Search in China and there's no decision yet if it will commit to the development of that product.

Pichai's claim to be able to serve over 99% of the queries despite the censorship regime is disingenuous at best.

"It's a wonderful, innovative market".

Since news of the "Dragonfly" project first leaked, hundreds of Google employees signed a letter saying that it raised "urgent moral and ethical issues", CNBC reported. Google rebuffed the demand. One employee, research scientist Jack Poulson, resigned in public protest.


It is exactly that large number of users that is tempting Google to come back on the Chinese market, after it discontinued its search services back in 2010.

Pichai said that there are many areas where Google could provide "information better than what's available" to people in China. He also went on to say that his company obeys the law of the land wherever it goes.

The rule of law in China is in the midst of a historic period of repression, with religious freedom sharply curtailed and the flow of information strictly controlled under President Xi Jinping. He graciously volunteered his company for future lucrative military contracts, apparently to save the U.S. from less dutiful businesses.

Google will still continue to work on contracts that deal with cyber-security as well as transportation and logistics. Pichai said deciding whether to work with the USA government or with China isn't done "by holding referendums", although employees are allowed "an important input". Google also cited the Chinese government's efforts to "further limit free speech on the web in China" by blocking websites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter as their reasoning for leaving the country.

In 2006, the search engine was introduced to Chinese internet users, but after many quarrels with the Chinese government, it moved its servers to Hong Kong, which has fewer restrictions on the internet.

Pichai said these compromises do not prevent Dragonfly from helping some Chinese citizens, such as those looking for information about cancer treatments. According to him, "If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the US Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble".

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