What happened: US President Donald Trump has said that Google is “committed to the US military, not the Chinese military” following a meeting with the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai. The US leader later added in a tweet that they had discussed “political fairness” as well as what Google could do for the US. Pichai was scheduled to meet General Joseph Dunford, chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military advisory committee in the US, to discuss topics that were expected to be related to Google’s work in China. The meeting with the president had not been made public beforehand.
Why it’s important: Trump’s comments come shortly after he said Google was “helping China and their military, but not the US.” His statement echoed Dunford’s sentiments, who made similar remarks days before. Dunford said that Google’s AI Lab in China, which the company opened in Beijing in 2017, benefits the Chinese military. The dispute has arisen because China and the Pentagon are both possible buyers of Google’s services. The company has backed out of cloud computing and drone footage analysis deals with the US military and the Department of Defense. Meanwhile, Google has been developing a censored search engine for the Chinese market.