Just earlier this month we caught a whiff of the “Dragonfly” project, which, reportedly, is a search engine developed by Google specifically for China, who is known for censoring the internet results for certain subjects, historical data, books and much more.
Now, The Intercept has done it again and has obtained some documents that allegedly show that Google has been using 265.com in order to get some practice with China’s censorship. The 265.com in question had been acquired in 2008 and it is a hybrid information and search portal which would aid Google in developing an accurate blacklist for the Chinese search terms.
Supposedly, Google has been collecting info about the search queries which redirect to Baidu, just to check if they would indeed, be censored.
According to the document, Google has been using a tool they had named BeaconTower, which would help them see if the searches would end up where they’re supposed to. If they didn’t, Google would simply exclude them completely from the first page of results within the Chinese search engine.
There have been no comments from Google concerning these details and when approached about the search engine issue in itself, the company simply cited policies against ‘discussing speculation’.
If any of this is true though, it means Google has been trying to get the search engine going, specifically for China, for much longer than anyone had initially suspected.