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China is known for imposing censorship on internet related content. Recently, the country has banned search queries related to John Oliver who is a comedian by profession. China had banned the search queries for Oliver following the comedian made fun of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, on one of his shows. Due to the censorship related issue, the tech giant Google was reluctant to launch its services in China. However, the company has not completely revived its operations in China. The Chinese user base prefers the Baidu search engine which is a Chinese homegrown search engine.
Now, some reports from The Intercept suggest that Google is prepping up to launch a censored version of its search engine for China which will also filter the search queries. The content that is said to be censored out of the search results will include Keywords associated with the human rights violations, religion, freedom of speech and democracy.
Some further information received from the insider sources reveals that the project for the censored version of Google search is being dubbed as Dragonfly. The Dragonfly has been under development since 2017. The project accelerated after a meeting that took place between the Google CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official whose identity has not been released. Google is said to have developed an Android app to launch the search engine in China again. The company has also demonstrated two versions of the search engine to the Chinese government.
The apps are dubbed as Maotai and Longfei and are still to receive the final approval from the Chinese government. The search feature will comply with the stringent Chinese censorship laws. The app will also provide access only to the pages that fall under the counter-doctrinal to the ruling party's manifesto; this will specifically include the content that challenges the ideologies of the communists.
Also, as per some documents which are marked as 'Google confidential,' the search engine for Chinese user will filter all the websites that are blocked by the Chinese online content filtering system automatically. If in case a user searches for a blocked content, he/she will be presented with a warning on the first page which will read as "Some results may have been removed due to statutory requirements".
As mentioned earlier the censorship will be applicable on all the extensions of Google search which will include images, keyword recommendations, spell check along with suggested searches. The app is expected to be released for the Android platform. There is no information available currently as to when the feature will be available for the other platforms including the desktops.