Google won't be launching a censored version of its Search engine for China anytime soon, Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai told employees on Thursday, according to one company insider cited by The Wall Street Journal. During the latest iteration of the firm's open meeting in its Mountain View campus, Alphabet President and Google co-founder Sergey Brin pointed to a number of products that Google launched in China since pulling its Search service from the Far Eastern country in 2010 to protest the Communist regime's censorship, including a file management mobile app. The industry veteran said Google still has ambitions to do more business in China as the country represents one of its largest growth opportunities.
Earlier this week, a significant number of Google employees demanded more transparency from the company's management following reports that the tech giant is working on a censored version of its Search engine for China. Approximately 1,400 Googlers co-signed an internal letter asking the firm's top executives to be more forthcoming when it comes to communicating the ethical consequences of the work that's being done at Alphabet's subsidiary which numbers some 80,000 employees around the world. The letter, obtained by The New York Times, accused Google's management of keeping its employees in the dark in terms of projects that raise moral and ethical concerns.
Mr. Pichai's Thursday remarks included an assertation that the company is already committed to internal transparency. Previous reports suggested the censored Search project, code-named "Dragonfly," was only disclosed to several hundred Googlers. Internal activism at the Californian firm already saw it back down from its intentions to renew an R&D contract with Pentagon that saw it develop artificial intelligence that could be used for improving drone strike accuracy as part of Project Maven. While Google canceled that effort earlier this year, its management appears adamant to continue exploring the possibility of once again taking on Baidu's Internet search engine in China. One high-profile former executive recently called the idea of a censored Google Search service "a stupid, stupid move" that effectively condones human rights violations in China and even enables them.