Google ends its contentious Chinese project ‘ Dragonfly ‘ formally
Google has formally shelved the contentious Project Dragonfly.
At a meeting of this week’s Senate Judiciary Committee, Google’s vice chairman of public policy, Karan Bhatia, said research on its censored Chinese search engine was “terminated.” A spokesman subsequently revealed that Google had no intentions to start Search in China and that no research was being done on such a venture.
Since it first arrived to light, Google has been ambiguous about Project Dragonfly.
Leaked papers stated that the China-centric search application would automatically recognize blocked pages from the so-called Great Firewall of the country and simply extract them from the test outcomes.
This would include free speech and political opposition data, as well as any adverse references to authoritarian government.
While Google confirmed that it was working on a project called Dragonfly, it wouldn’t offer any more information about it, other than saying its progress was progressing well.
Dragonfly, however, once again confronted worldwide reaction, with Amnesty International arranging a demonstration against the initiative and Congress carrying Google boss Sundar Pichai out for interrogation.
While the episode sheds light on the huge capacity of Google for ethically dubious operations, it again shows the company’s willingness to react to feedback.
Last year, more than 4,000 staff signed a request against the agreement after the tech giant took up a huge — and contentious — agreement with the Pentagon and a dozen technicians quit the business.
Google promised not to renew the agreement as a consequence. However, it is uncertain whether Dragonfly has been removed due to staff rumblings or other unknown project trends.