Google has reportedly ended China search project

  • More than 300 Google employees have signed an open letter protesting the Dragonfly project.
  • Monday's report comes after Google's CEO told Congress that currently the company has no plans to bring search to China.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2017.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2017.

Google has set aside its controversial push to launch a censored search service in China, according to a new report by The Intercept, which first broke news of the project this summer.

Alphabet's latest move comes after hundreds of employees protested the project, known as Dragonfly, and would reflect another response on the part of executives to internal disagreement with company plans. Earlier this year Google said it would not renew a government contractrelated to artificial intelligence, after employees spoke out against the work.

Following years of being absent from China's web search market, Google had wanted to launch the Dragonfly product in early 2019, although now, amid outcry inside and outside of Google, the pressure seems to have caused leaders to "shelve it at least in the short term," said the report, which cited two unnamed sources. Many Google engineers working on the project have reportedly been reassigned to projects related to Brazil, Indonesia, Russia and other countries.

A Google spokeswoman told CNBC in an email that it still wants to serve Chinese users.

Last week Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded vaguely to questions about the Dragonfly project in a Congressional hearing. "Right now, we have no plans to launch search in China," he said.

Read the full report here.

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