Have you heard? Google may launch a modified version of its search engine in China. This search engine would aim to censor certain controversial terms and websites to satisfy the regulations of the country. These terms and websites include human rights, peaceful protest, religion, and democracy – all similar to the terms that are censored on current Chinese search engines.
Right now, Google has a variety of platforms that are blocked in China, including its main search engine, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The company hopes that by complying with censorship, it can make a large impact in China as it has in the U.S. After all, China has 770 million internet users while the U.S. only has 287 million.
You may be wondering why Google has taken so long to try to crack into such a large internet user population, but this actually isn’t the first time it’s made its presence known in China. Back in 2006, Google ran a first-generation censored version of its search engine in China. It received heavy criticism, however, so Google removed it in 2010, citing it “could no longer continue censoring our results” in the country.
Recently, Google has been more active in China, setting up an artificial intelligence research facility in Beijing in 2017 and launching a game platform on China’s messaging and social media platform WeChat. With a more active presence and the failure of its first attempt behind it, the search engine giant could receive a more positive reaction to the new idea.
While some Chinese individuals seem to support the idea, not everyone is on board. Amnesty International’s China Researcher Patrick Poon said in a statement. “… For the world’s biggest search engine to adopt such extreme measures would be a gross attack on freedom of information and internet freedom. In putting profits before human rights, Google would be setting a chilling precedent and handing the Chinese government a victory.”
Depending on what the company decides, Google’s search engine could launch in as little as six to nine months. But before it does, Chinese authorities will need to approve the idea.
What do you think of Google having its own Chinese search engine? Our digital marketing company would love to know!