Google China's headquarters in Beijing, pictured in 2010. Photo: Liu Jin/AFP via Getty Images

Google plans to build a censored search engine for the Chinese market, reports the Intercept, citing leaked documents with records of the plans.

Reality check: Even if Google is building a such a tool, it doesn't mean it's getting into China anytime soon. U.S. tech giants are willing to spend time and money to crack China's massive market, but winning government approval is difficult. Facebook was reportedly also working on a censorship tool in 2016, but the company hasn't been able to move into China since them.

The details, per the Intercept:

  • The search engine would "blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest."
  • The project is code-named "Dragonfly" and has been in the works since the spring of 2017, but progress accelerated after a December 2017 meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese official.
  • Google developers have reportedly built an Android app with the censorship tool. It has been shown to the Chinese government, and "the finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from Chinese officials."
  • A spokesperson for Google reached by Axios declined to comment on future plans in China.

The backdrop: Google's search engine has been banned in China for nearly a decade. The company shut down search engine operations in 2010 because of Chinese censorship laws.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 31,717,955 — Total deaths: 973,014 Total recoveries: 21,795,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 6,913,046 — Total deaths: 201,319 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Fauci clashes with Rand Paul at COVID hearing: "You're not listening" — FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  6. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.

California moves to phase out gasoline-powered cars

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is issuing an executive order that seeks to eliminate sales of new gasoline-powered cars in his state by 2035.

Why it matters: California is the largest auto market in the U.S., and transportation is the biggest source of carbon emissions in the state and nationwide.

CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus

CDC Director Robert Redfield said at a Senate hearing Wednesday that preliminary data shows that over 90% of Americans remain susceptible to COVID-19 — meaning they have not yet been exposed to the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The U.S. surpassed 200,000 coronavirus deaths this week — the most recorded in the world — and over 6.8 million Americans have contracted the virus so far.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!