Sundar Pichai publicly addresses Google's China-centric plans

Google CEO confirms secretive Chinese search engine project

Science 16 Oct 2018 Google's working on 'censored' Chinese search engine CEO Pichai confirms

Google has received criticism from both in and outside of the company since its plans to develop a censored, government-friendly search engine for China leaked.

Pichai was speaking on Monday at Wired Magazine's 25th-anniversary summit here in the US.

The Google chief executive also appeared to take a swipe at Baidu, operator of China's largest search engine, suggesting that a Google product would be competitive with local alternatives.

Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010 because it did not want to censor the site according to government regulations. Google tried to suppress an internal memo written by an employee that detailed how some aspects of the service would work.

Pichai said that the result of its investigation was that not only would Google be able to serve well over 99% of queries, but that there are several areas where Google could provide better information than what is now available in China. How do you feel about Google indulging China's censorship? Surprisingly, such research-based projects are usually kept confidential but google seems to be breaking the norms in this case.

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"There are many, many areas where we would provide information better than what's available", he added, referring to medical information such as cancer treatments.

Google's return to China is not guaranteed, Pichai said Monday. That's more users than the entire population of the United States, not something even Google can look past. It would also require Chinese users to log in with their credentials before searches can be run, ensuring that the Communist Party can log and examine a comprehensive record of search activity. And it could pave the way for Google to reenter China's online search market after almost a decade.

Pichai said Google's mission was to provide the world with information, and that a dedicated search engine could help Chinese citizens access more reliable medical information. In June, Google declined to renew a contract with the Pentagon after employees and outside groups said they were concerned about the use of artificial intelligence in weaponry. Critics believe that Google chooses the big money from China and betrayed the "Don't be evil" own corporate moto.

Google found that Chinese government censors would block less than 1% of users' searches, according to Pichai. Pichai said. "It turns out we'll be able to serve well over 99 percent of the queries". He also justified the company's decision by saying it follows "the rule of law in every country".

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