Google Employees Reportedly Not Convinced ‘Dragonfly’ Is Dead
Mike Sanders / 5 years ago
Google Project ‘Dragonfly’
Last year it was revealed that internet giant Google was working on a new search engine. This version, however, was designed to specifically handle the needs of the Chinese Government. As you might be aware, China has one of the strictest regulated internets in the world. Put simply, if the government doesn’t approve, it shouldn’t appear online. To put this level of censorship into context, there is a part of me that is always convinced that when I write about China here, someone over there is reading it. Do you think that’s far fetched?
It was, however, revealed that during the development of this ‘search engine’, there was a rather insidious factor included with it. Namely, a little algorithm called ‘Dragonfly’.
What Is It?
Essentially, although specific details have not been revealed, it is believed that the ‘Dragonfly’ aspect of the design could allow the Chinese government to specifically track individuals and monitor their search history. Clearly, this is rather a concerning proposition.
It led to many senior Google staff members openly calling for the company to cease work on the project. In fairness, CEO Sundar Pinchai did confirm that they no longer had plans to release the search engine. Well, at least “not now”. It seems, however, that in a report via The Verge, many employees are not convinced that work has truly stopped.
Employees have noted that since the announcement, there has still been a number of coding changes to the ‘Dragonfly’ engine. Specifically, 500 coding changes in December and 400 in January. As such, many staff members are convinced that despite Google’s denial, work is still underway on the application. Is there a valid explanation for this? Possibly, but it does require a leap of faith.
Playing Devils Advocate, it’s entirely possible that the code changes were for legitimate reasons. For example, perhaps Google wanted to ‘finish off the work’ before shelving the project. I do, however, suspect that their employees will continue to monitor the situation.
What do you think? Is Google still working on Dragonfly? Do they still plan to release this in the future? Is this just hyperbole from the staff? – Let us know in the comments!