Google prepares for return to China by building a censored search engine, much to some employees’ outrage.
Google has been at work on a version of its search engine that will meet the strict standards of the Chinese government, but new reports from the internet giant show that some of the employees aren’t too excited about Google’s new version.
The outrage from some employees is such that the company has revoked access to particulars of the project in an effort to quell the wildfire of internal gossip.According to a report by Ryan Gallagher for The Intercept, “Just a few hundred of Google’s massive 88,000-strong workforce had been briefed on the project prior to the revelations, which triggered a wave of disquiet that spread through the internet giant’s offices across the world. Company managers responded by swiftly trying to shut down employees’ access to any documents that contained information about the China censorship project, according to Google insiders who witnessed the backlash.”
What could possibly have Google employees so up in arms about a project that has been eight years in the making?
The project, code named Dragonfly, is a highly censored version of the search engine based on extensive research into keywords used within the country, but that doesn’t seem to be the only thing upsetting employees. In addition to the company-mandated stab at their core values of making information access available to all, much of the anger stems from the hush-hush requirements and the lack of transparency within the country.
The backlash to this project, which was actually underway last year, has drawn criticism from not only the employees but even human rights advocates. The Chinese government has reportedly already seen the app in action, according to leaks from within Google, and the expected timeline for full launch was as early as six months from now. There’s no word whether the leaked information and the reports of blowback from within Google’s own team will affect that launch.