What happened: More information has been revealed on Google’s secret search platform for China under the code name Dragonfly. The search engine already has a functioning version but the more interesting part of it is that the project is being carried out as part of a “joint venture” with a company that’s most likely based in China. That company may be Tencent—Google has signed an agreement with the Chinese tech giant in January. Aside from the possible Tencent link, the report also found that Google has been working with sampled search queries from 265.com, a Chinese-language web directory service based in Beijing and owned by Google. The site was likely used as a honeypot for Chinese users’ search data.
Why it’s important: The backlash against Google’s project has already begun not only among Google’s staff but also among US government representatives as six senators are asking Google CEO Sundar Pichai to explain its link to Tencent. Google has so far refused to comment on any of the news. Meanwhile, reports on Google reentering China has been mysteriously appearing and disappearing from Chinese media.