Thursday, 20 June 2019 08:06

China search plan off, but Google open to future ventures

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China search plan off, but Google open to future ventures Pixabay

Google has publicly confirmed that it has abandoned plans to launch a censored search platform in China, but has not ruled out future collaboration with Beijing.

Google's senior vice-president of Global Affairs, Kent Walker, told a shareholders' meeting of its parent company, Alphabet, after answering queries about Project DragonFly — as the China project is known — that the company had no plans to work on the censored search engine.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai had told CNN on the weekend that the company was not actively working on a new Chinese search engine, but added that China and its millions of Internet users could not be ignored by Google.

In the run-up to the shareholders' meeting, Tibetan campaigners held rallies outside Google offices in 15 cities around the world, including London, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Sydney and Toronto.

Free Tibet Campaigns and Advocacy manage John Jones said: "After months of hard work, we are pleased to hear Google confirm that it has no plans to offer ‘Project DragonFly’ in China.

"The Chinese Communist Party were never going to allow Google to re-establish itself in China without compromising everything positive about the Internet, from the privacy of users to free access to information.

"The secretive nature of the project suggests that on some level the company’s executives knew this. Thanks to the tenacity of those involved in the campaign, as well as the bravery of those Google employees who spoke out, the company has, at least for now, put these plans on hold. We will keep watch for future developments, but for the moment, it’s a time to celebrate."

In August last year, it was revealed that Google was planning to re-enter the Chinese search market with a censored search utility. After this was revealed, Google decided later in the year to put the project on hold.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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