It was reported earlier this year that Google has secretly been working on a search product for China which may comply with the country’s strict censorship regulations. The company has taken a lot of flak for the project called Dragonfly and has seen considerable opposition to it from many employees as well. According to a new report, it has now dealt a major blow to the Dragonfly program by halting a data collection project in China.
The Intercept reports that while Google is still researching web searches in China, an official launch for Dragonfly has been postponed indefinitely. The company’s executives have reportedly shut down one of the most important data sources for the project amid opposition from employees. This would make ongoing work very difficult for the Dragonfly team.
Google started researching internet searches in China by setting up a dummy search engine at 265.com. The queries made through this search engine would be redirected to Baidu, China’s biggest search engine. Google could thus get a sense of what the Chinese users were searching for online.
The company is now said to have shut down 265.com, leaving the Dragonfly team in a lot of difficulties as their biggest data source has not been taken away. The widespread opposition to Dragonfly may have forced Google to give up on its China ambitions. In his recent appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Google CEO Sundar Pichai did say that the company has “no plans” to launch a search engine in China.
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