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Google China: Has search firm put Project Dragonfly on hold?

Google has reportedly "effectively ended" plans for a censored search engine in China.

The Intercept, which of Project Dragonfly in August, says Google has been " a data analysis system it was using" to feed the project.

And access to data "integral to Dragonfly... has been suspended for now, which has stopped progress".

Google said it had no immediate plans to launch a Chinese search engine.

Citing internal Google documents and inside sources, the Intercept says Project Dragonfly began in the spring of 2017 and accelerated in December after Google's chief executive, Sundar Pichai, met a Chinese government official,

An Android app with versions called Maotai and Longfei were developed and could be launched within nine months if Chinese government approved, it says.

Using a tool called BeaconTower to check if users' search queries on Beijing-based website would fall foul of China's censors, Google engineers came up with a list of thousands of banned websites, including the BBC and Wikipedia, which could then be purged from the Dragonfly search engine.

But members of Google's privacy team confronted the Dragonfly project managers, saying the system had "been kept secret from them".

And after several discussions, "Google engineers were told that they were no longer permitted to continue using the data to help develop Dragonfly, which has since had severe consequences for the project".

The so-called great firewall of China is notorious for not allowing its citizens free access to all the content available on the internet.