Tomorrow, a number of different human rights groups and activists will protest in front of Google's headquarters in New York City and San Francisco, that Google shut down its Project Dragonfly search engine that is being developed for China.
The protests will start at 10AM local time.
Google's New York City headquarters is located at 85 10th Ave, while the company's San Francisco office is located at 345 Spear Street. The protests are not heading for Google's main campus in Mountain View, interestingly enough.
There will be other protests at Google offices and headquarters around the world. Including Argentina, Australia, Chile, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, and the UK.
These are not the only protests from human rights groups aimed at getting Google to protect free speech and human rights on Internet Freedom Day - which so happens to occur on January 18. Those taking part in the protests are going to gather outside of Google's headquarters and offices, with signs that highlight risks of launching Project Dragonfly. There will also be leaflets handed out to Google employees and the public, depicting the risks of this project. these protests will continue until Google executives decide to formally cancel Project Dragonfly.
What exactly is Project Dragonfly?
Project Dragonfly is a search engine that Google has been working on for several months, that will be available in China. On the outskirts, it doesn't sound like a big issue. But this search engine will be censored, to comply with China's censorship laws. That is where human rights groups take offense, and why these protests are breaking out.
China's censorship laws are pretty tough, and not a whole lot of content is let inside of China, especially from countries like the US. Google initially left the country in 2010 over its censorship. But it is now looking to get back into the country, realizing how much growth it is losing out on, by not being in China.
Human rights and activists are not the only ones asking Google to stop work on Project Dragonfly. Congress asked Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai about this when he was testifying in front of Congress last month. Pichai stated that there were "no plans" to bring a search engine to China. There have been some rumors that Pichai had decided to kill the project internally, though that has not been confirmed by anyone at Google yet.
Google employees, including some that were tasked with working on the project, have also been upset with Google working on a censored search engine for China. This is because it goes against everything that Google stands for. It's motto is "don't be evil", and launching a censored search engine isn't quite evil, but it does get rid of the "freedom of speech" that so many fought for.
It's all about business for Google, as you'd expect, it's looking to get into the next billion users, and China is the way to get there. But a censored search engine may not be the answer to break through that Great Firewall of China, unfortunately.