Google plans return to China search market with censored app

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Google is reportedly planning to re-launch its search engine in China, complete with censored results to meet the demands of the Chinese government.

China's state-owned Securities Times reported (link in Chinese) on Thursday that reports of Google 's re-entry in China are untrue, citing an unnamed source within the government, or "from relevant authorities".

But since 2010, Google's search engine has been actively blocked by the Great Firewall - the Internet filter created by the Chinese government to combat external political influences.

Although talks between Google and the Chinese government are believed to be ongoing, they may be overshadowed by the developing trade conflict between the US and China, which shows little sign of abating at the moment. This will ensure that people will not be recommended photos and information banned by the Chinese government.

The project is code-named Dragonfly, an Intercept report notes, and has been secretly in development since last spring, accelerating after a December 2017 meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and the Kissinger of China, Wang Huning, who's a top foreign policy adviser of China's President Xi.

There were an estimated 772 million internet users in China as of the end of previous year, with internet availability sitting at only 55.8 percent of the population. "It is impossible to see how such a move is compatible with Google's "Do the right thing" motto, and we are calling on the company to change course". Last summer, Apple faced criticism after it removed VPN software - which many Chinese use to get around the "Great Firewall" - from its Chinese app store.

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There are 9,569 United Nations Command personnel who remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, including 7,699 Americans. Numerous fallen service members died in North Korea and were buried by their comrades where they fell.

Fast forward eight years, and Chinese internet companies are some of the largest on the planet, with much of their success forged on an uneven home playing field on which western companies have been unable to compete.

After leaving China nearly a decade ago, Google might be going back.

In January, the search engine joined an investment in Chinese live-stream mobile game platform Chushou, and earlier this month, launched an artificial intelligence (AI) game on Tencent Holdings Ltd's social media app WeChat. It's an Android app, and allegedly a finalized version has been shown to Chinese government officials.

"We don't comment on speculation about future plans", a Google spokesperson wrote in an email to Search Marketing Daily. Sources indicate that some Google employees have also claimed that the escalating trade war between the USA and China means that approval for the finalization of this project won't necessarily be granted.

We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement...

China has hundreds of millions of internet users and a thriving online shopping market, making it impossible for USA tech companies to ignore. Facebook (FB), which competes with Google for advertising revenue, is also locked out of China. However, as TechCrunch points out, similar apps in China, such as Toutiao-which Google is apparently trying to clone here-have at times fallen foul of the country's censors, for promoting "pornographic and vulgar content".