For years Google has been forced out of China because it made the decision that it didn’t want to help censor the web or block information that the government doesn’t want its people to see. But now it seems that the tech giant is planning to release a new censored version of its search engine and apps.
The news comes from a leak of confidential internal documents about the plans for a censored search engine which is code-named Dragonfly,.
Google’s new technology has reportedly been in development for over a year and has already been demonstrated for Chinese government officials. The plans for a new search engine include Android apps that would allow users to search Google without being exposed to information that the government deems unacceptable.
Google’s Android already has the largest market share of any operating system in China, currently accounting for roughly 51 percent of all devices.
The censored Google products still need to win final approval from the Chinese government before they’ll be allowed out into the wild.
This means that Chinese Google users will no longer see words and phrases that are seen as subversive, including references to the Aldous Huxley book Brave New World, the cartoon character Peppa Pig, and even Winnie the Pooh.
Pooh became a symbol of Chinese president Xi Jingping back in 2013 when he was seen walking with President Obama.
More than 200 employees at Google are working on the new censored search engine. Most are based at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, though others are reportedly spread out across the United States.
Google has refused to confirm the move, but said that it provides a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like JD.com.