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Sundar Pichai Clears Google’s China Centric Plans

Google had launched a search engine in China in 2006 but pulled the plug in 2010

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Google, Australia
Pichai's ability to effectively lead the company, down from 92 per cent "positive" the year before, according to Google's latest annual survey on employee satisfaction, the WIRED reported on Saturday.  . VOA

 Google CEO Sundar Pichai has for the first time gone public about his company’s China-centric plans and has stressed on its need to re-enter the Asian nation that has the world’s largest population, a media report said.

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

Since China is an important market, Google is developing a censored search-engine for Beijing codenamed “Dragonfly” that would filter content deemed sensitive by its ruling Communist Party regime.

Google
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif

“We wanted to learn what it would look like if Google were in China. It’s very early and we don’t know whether we would or could do this in China but we felt like it was important for us to explore, given how important the market is and how many users there are,” The Verge quoted Pichai as saying.

Information regarding Google’s “Dragonfly” project began surfacing in August and since then the company has faced severe backlash from its employees as well as the US government.

Google’s plan to launch the censored browser has come under heavy criticism from one of its former Asia-Pacific head of free expression who called it a “stupid move”.

In September, Google reportedly developed a prototype of “Dragonfly” that linked users’ search history to their personal phone numbers allowing security agencies to easily track users seeking out information banned by the government.

Google
Google’s plan to launch the censored browser has come under heavy criticism from one of its former Asia-Pacific head. VOA

Along with former Google Senior Scientist Jack Poulson, several other employees have resigned from the company citing lack of corporate transparency after it revealed its efforts about “Dragonfly”.

The company has been guarding the China-project details against the US Congress.

Appearing before members of the US Congress at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in September end, Google’s Chief Privacy Officer, Keith Enright confirmed that the China search project does exist, but did not disclose much.

President Donald Trump’s administration has also asked Google to shun the “Dragonfly” project.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. (Wikimedia Commons)

 

Though Pichai describes his company’s China plans as very preliminary, it is clear that backlash within and outside the company has been vocal and will only intensify in future, the report added.

Also Read: U.S. Government Warns People Against China-Linked Hacking Group

Google had launched a search engine in China in 2006 but pulled the plug in 2010, citing Chinese government efforts to limit free speech and block websites. (IANS)

Next Story

China Opposes Washington’s Decision On Iran Oil Sanctions

The United States quit the deal in May 2018, and renewed U.S. sanctions have hit Iran's economy and contributed to the fall of the national currency, the rial.

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Iranian oil worker
An Iranian oil worker rides his bicycle at a Tehran oil refinery. RFERL

Beijing has lashed out at a U.S. decision to impose sanctions on countries that buy Iranian oil, warning that it will intensify turmoil in the Middle East and in the international energy market.

“China firmly opposes the U.S. implementation of unilateral sanctions and its so-called long-armed jurisdiction,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at an April 23 press briefing.

The White House announced on April 22 that the United States will not renew exemptions granted in 2018 to five buyers of Iranian oil — top customer China as well as India, Turkey, South Korea, and Japan — pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran.

The exemptions, or waivers, allowed the five countries to buy Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions. The White House has said that the decision to end them is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports — a key source of revenue for the authoritarian government — to zero.

The United States has said it was working with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two of the largest oil exporters, to ensure the market was “adequately supplied.”

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“China firmly opposes the U.S. implementation of unilateral sanctions and its so-called long-armed jurisdiction,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at an April 23 press briefing.
VOA

Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main regional rival, welcomed the U.S. decision to end all Iran sanctions waivers by May.

“Saudi Arabia fully supports this step…as it is necessary to force the Iranian regime to end its policy of destabilizing stability and its support and sponsorship of terrorism around the world,” Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said on April 23.

Japan has said it expects a limited impact from the U.S. decision.

“We will closely watch international oil markets and exchange views with Japanese companies involved in crude imports and may consider taking necessary measures,” Japan’s trade and industry minister Hiroshige Seko said on April 23.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said on April 23 that the United States will not succeed in cutting the country’s oil exports to zero, telling parliament that Iran will work “with all our might…toward breaking America’s sanctions.”

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the U.S. decision on April 22, calling sanctions “illegal” and saying that the country “did not and does not attach any value or credibility to the waivers.”

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The White House announced on April 22 that the United States will not renew exemptions granted in 2018 to five buyers of Iranian oil — top customer China as well as India, Turkey, South Korea, and Japan — pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran. Pixabay

The European Union said on April 23 it “regrets” the U.S. decision, warning that it would further undermine a 2015 agreement between world powers and Iran that granted Tehran sanctions relief in exchange of restrictions on its nuclear program.

Also Read: 65% Indian Businesses Witness Rise in Online Fraud: Report

The United States quit the deal in May 2018, and renewed U.S. sanctions have hit Iran’s economy and contributed to the fall of the national currency, the rial.

The EU will “continue to abide by [the deal] as long as Iran continues with full and effective implementation,” EU foreign policy spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said. (RFERL)