“Google’s Dragonfly censored search engine project was expected to block websites relating to information on free speech and political opposition”
At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Google’s vice president of public policy, Karan Bhatia, finally announced that the search giant has terminated the controversial Dragonfly Chinese search project. The company’s spokesperson later confirmed that it no longer has plans to launch the search platform in China and isn’t actively working on any such projects. Had the project gone through, the China-centric search app would automatically identify websites blocked by the country’s Firewall, and remove them from the search results.
Going back in time, despite confirming that the company was working on a Dragonfly project, Google never openly revealed any further details on it. Instead, the search giant just said the development was going well. Since the news about the Chinese search broke out in August 2018, it received severe backlash from various corners including Amnesty International organising protesting against the project. The project was expected to block websites relating to information on free speech and political opposition.
While this might be the first time Google publicly announced the project termination, the company’s spokesperson back in March responding to media reports, said, “As we’ve said for many months, we have no plans to launch search in China, and there is no work being undertaken on such a project. Team members have moved to new projects.” With Google finally cancelling the project either because of the backlash or other unspecified developments, it does show the company is willing to respond to feedback.