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No plans to launch a censored search engine in China, Google CEO Sundar Pichai tells US Congress



Google chief executive officer Sundar Pichai during his testimony before the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on December 11 said that his company had no intentions of launching a censored version of its search engine in China.

“Right now, we have no plans to Search launch in China,” Pichai told the Congressional committee lead by chairman Bob Goodlatte.

Notably, while the Google CEO denied reports of his company planning to launch a tailored version of its search engine in the country, he did not rule out a future possibility. “Our core process right now is to provide information in China, which is a basic human right. We have no plans to launch Search in China,” Pichai said while answering questions about the company’s project Dragonfly by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

Pichai also told the Congressmen that Google would be “fully transparent” with the lawmakers when the company brings out such a product in future.

When questioned if any of the company’s employees were having project meetings about its product in China and if the company has had discussions with the Chinese government about the censored search engine, Pichai said that at the moment, project Dragonfly was just an internal project that was being undertaken by the company’s Search team. “Right now there are no plans to launch a search product in China,” he reiterated adding, “It’s currently an internal project. It’s being undertaken by the company’s Search team. But it is a limited and a distributed effort currently.”

Besides acknowledging working on a prototype search engine for China to see how Search would look like in China the Google CEO also said that, at one point, the project had nearly 100 engineers working on it.

Apart from project Dragonfly, the US lawmakers questioned Pichai on Google’s bias against the conservative voices and that the company tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 US elections. Additionally, the Congressmen also questioned Pichai on how the company collected location data and if the users’ location information was being sold to the advertisers. “We don’t transmit location data to advertisers. It’s imp that we give location protection,” the Google CEO added during the testimony.

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