No Plans Of Launching Chinese Search Engine, Says Google

While not ruling out the possibility of a future launch, a US congressional panel on Tuesday was informed by Google chief executive Sundar Pichai that the company did not have any immediate plans to launch any search engine specifically for the Chinese market.

Earlier in August, the US lawmakers in a letter were informed by Pichai that the company believed that the creation of such a search engine would give “broad benefits” to China but was unsure about whether the US search engine giant would be launching the services in China. Pichai testified before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

If the company brings search products to China, he would be “fully transparent” with policymakers, Pichai told the committee.

“Right now, there are no plans to launch search in China,” Pichai testified. “Getting access to information is an important human right, so we always are compelled across the world to try hard to provide that information.”

There have been concerns among US lawmakers and hundreds of former and present Google employees about the possibility of Google ultimately complying with the internet censorship and surveillance policies that are prevalent in China if it finally decides to re-enter the market for search engines in the second largest economy of the world.

Since 2010, China had blocked the main search platform of Google but the US tech giant has been trying to create new paths and modes of entering the Chinese market which is also the largest market of smartphone users in the world.

It was unlikely Google would get clearance to launch a search service in 2019, said a Chinese government official last month.

The measures that Google would undertake to adhere to the strict internet regulations in China if it decided to re-enter the market were not enumerated by Pichai.

“We would look at what the conditions are to operate,” Pichai said.

Google’s search results are biased against conservatives was the major concern of republicans and this remained the major focus for much of the congressional hearing. The other issue that dominated the meeting were accusations that the outcome of the 2016 presidential election was sought to be influenced by the company.

The claim was rejected to be a “fantasy” by democrats and at least one said the search results highlighted more conservative voices.

While claiming that the Google search engine merely aid people to get registered for voting or for them to locate the nearest polling booth, Pichai denied all such accusations that the company paid for the transportation of Latino voters’ to polls in some of the states during the election.

“We don’t engage in partisan activities,” Pichai told the panel.

(Adapted from IrishTimes.com)

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