CEO Sundar Pichai made the admission onstage on Monday at the Wired 25 Summit. The censored search engine is known internally as “Dragonfly” and has been in testing since last year. Once it rolls out, when a user in China uses Google’s search, websites banned by the Chinese government will automatically be filtered out of results.
Google famously left the Chinese market eight years ago because it was no longer willing to have search results censored. But the Google of today is very different than the Google of eight years ago. As Pichai noted, “[China is] a wonderful, innovative market. We wanted to learn what it would look like if we were in China, so that’s what we built internally. Given how important the market is and how many users there are, we feel obliged to think hard about this problem and take a longer-term view.”