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Google plans censored return to China search market, reports say

Google to launch censored app in China

Google may be changing its tune when it comes to the largest single market for internet users. The technology giant is reportedly readying to relaunch its search engine in China, and unlike the one it closed in 2010, this one will conform to content demands by the Beijing government. 

China's so-called Great Firewall currently blocks access to Google's search engine for most internet users, and the move reportedly in the works would mark a large change in Google's policy towards the word's most populous nation.

Google has been developing a censored version of its search engine under the codename "Dragonfly" since the start of last year, according to a report published Wednesday by The Intercept, which cites internal documents provided by a whistleblower. 

In the company's first go-around in China, Google decried government attempts to "limit free speech on the web" in shutting down its original search engine in China, where citizens are blocked from accessing many sites. The company also complained at the time of hacking attacks that appeared to come from China.

Google's latest search engine in China is being developed as an Android mobile app, and will screen out sites banned by government censors, such as Wikipedia and BBC News, according to the Intercept report. Websites and search terms about democracy, religion, human rights and peaceful protest will also be blacklisted.

Teams of programmers and engineers at Google worked on the custom Android app, which has already been shown to the Chinese government and, depending on approval by government higher-ups, could be launched in as soon as six months, Intercept said.A

Asked to comment on the Intercept report, a Google spokesperson told CBS News: "We provide a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like JD.com. But we don't comment on speculation about future plans."

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