What happened: Top managers at Google are conducting a secretive “performance review” of work on Project Dragonfly—the company’s censored search engine for China, sources have told The Intercept. Typically, work at the company is peer-reviewed, with the results being assessed by management. However, in this case, the normal process has been subverted and the review is being conducted by committees of managers.
Why it’s important: Google is attempting to keep all aspects of its China search project secretive. Should Dragonfly undergo the usual performance assessments, employees across the company would be able to closely scrutinize the project. Following internal backlash Google received after Dragonfly was made public last year, the company is doing what it can avoid further controversy. However, the secretive review process is likely to stoke anger among Google employees, who last year complained about the project’s lack of transparency. According to The Intercept’s sources, Google management have consistently refused to provide employees with more information, contrary to CEO Sundar Pichai’s promise to engage more on the topic going forward.