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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 CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a news conference in New Delhi. VOA
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 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.

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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.

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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)

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Google Investigating The Root Cause Of Its Malfunction

ThousandEyes detected intermittent availability issues to Google services from some locations.

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YouTube, Google, google services
A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

After several users complained that they were either unable to access Google services like YouTube on Tuesday, the tech giant confirmed the root cause of this was “external” and under investigation.

Internet research firm ThousandEyes, however, claimed that “traffic to certain Google destinations appears to be routed through an ISP in Russia and black-holed at a China Telecom gateway router”.

The disruption in Google services was limited to nearly an hour.

YouTube, Google, google services
The YouTube Music app is displayed on a mobile phone in Los Angeles. VOA

“Throughout the duration of this issue Google services were operating as expected and we believe the root cause of the issue was external to Google,” the company said.

“We will conduct an internal investigation of this issue and make appropriate improvements to our systems to help prevent or minimize future recurrence.”

According to media reports, G Suite applications like Gmail and Google Drive were not impacted.

Google described the issue as “Google Cloud IP addresses being erroneously advertised by internet service providers other than Google”.

YouTube, Google, google services
A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

ThousandEyes named China Telecom, Nigerian-provider MainOne and Russian network operator TransTelekom behind this incident.

Also Read: Social Media Laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

“Potential hijack underway. ThousandEyes detected intermittent availability issues to Google services from some locations. Traffic to certain Google destinations appears to be routed through an ISP in Russia & black-holed at a China Telecom gateway router,” ThousandEyes tweeted.

Google told the Wall Street Journal that users’ data was not compromised, adding that “and that the company has no reason to believe that the incident was malicious”. (IANS)