Is Google Building a Censored, China-Specific Search Engine?

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2:26 AM HKT, Thu August 2, 2018 1 mins read

That’s what a new investigative article from The Intercept is telling us. There’s been no official confirmation of the news just yet, but the article offers plenty of apparent detail to back up its central claim.

The move would come almost a decade after Google decided to pull the plug on its search services on Mainland China due — it said — to conflicts with its famed ex-policy of not being “evil”. According to The Intercept‘s report, the China-specific search engine “will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest”, which would of course represent a pretty major coup for the authorities here.

The report also comes just a week after Facebook’s on then off again attempt to gain a mainland Chinese foothold.

Even with its search suspended in China, Google has been sniffing around the market for some time, launching a number of products for Chinese users, teaming up with e-commerce giant, and opening an AI research center in Beijing last year. Just a couple of weeks ago they cozied up to Tencent with a WeChat mini-app:

If the censored search engine reported to be in the works by The Intercept becomes a reality, it will eclipse all of these initiatives however. It would also mark a significant cave to Beijing’s attempts to build a tightly-controlled, largely separate Chinese internet.

Read The Intercept‘s report here.


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