Google’s contentious project to establish a censored Chinese search engine has officially been scrapped according to one of the company’s executives. Apparently the plans were thought to have been halted last year already, but rumours suggesting its continuation remained persistent.
“We have terminated Project Dragonfly,” Google Executive Karan Bhatia stated to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. This was supposedly the first sign of official public confirmation that the project was stopped, according to Buzzfeed – which reported the latest announcement.
Confirmation of these actions were later established by a spokesperson for Google, saying that the tech giant currently had no such agenda to construct the search engine in China, nor is there any work being performed in that regard either.
A former employee of the company had previously expressed that Googles prototype Chinese search engine was “disturbing”. Project Dragonfly drew skepticism as a possible method in which the Chinese government could censor certain types of content as well as observe the online actions of citizens.
Google reluctant to give confirmation
Towards the end of last year, Google appeared to be hesitant to confirm whether work on the Chinese search engine had been entirely ceased or not, despite the increase in pressure on the company. At that stage, development on Project Dragonfly was “limited”, according to what Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said to the United States House Judiciary Committee in December.
Documents gathered by the investigative new site, The Intercept, indicated that the search engine was launched as a company project in spring 2017. According to the documents, engineers at Google were at some stage developing methods to sift out certain websites – such as the BBC and Wikipedia – from search results, based around web censorship in China.