Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has said that a censored search app could serve 99% of search requests in China.
He was speaking to a press conference in San Francisco. He mentioned that the plan was still in the “very early” stages and there are chances that it may not progress.
Google is banned in mainland China for eight years after it refused to censor content on the request of the Chinese government. In August, rumors arose that the company is planning a comeback in China- obviously on China’s terms. The proposal has drawn criticism from employees and human rights advocates.
Mr. Pichai was asked the proposed date of launch. He said that the plan was still not finalized so he cannot tell any concrete date of launch.
“We wanted to learn what it would look like if Google were in China, so that’s what we built internally,” Mr. Pichai said at a conference in San Francisco.
“It’s very early, we don’t know whether we could do this in China but we do feel that it is important to cater the needs of people living in China. I think it’s important for us given how important the market is and how many users there are,” he said.
The company has tested the app in-house and they say the app can answer 99% of queries.
According to the sources, Google has given the name ‘dragonfly’ to this app. This app will be launched after getting approval from the Chinese authorities and it would restrict access to certain websites and keywords mainly related to human rights and religion.
This re-entry of Google in China has angered some employees who fear they have been unwittingly working on technology that will help China suppress free expression.
In the start of this year, US Vice-President Mike Pence suggested Google to immediately stop working on Dragonfly as it will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers.