It comes as China steps up scrutiny into business dealings involving USA tech firms including Facebook.
These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered - combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web - have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China.
In early 2010, Google closed up shop in mainland China after rows over censorship and hacking.
The Intercept has internal documents from a whistleblower that show Google has developed the censored version, codenamed Dragonfly, since early past year.
Google's current focus is reportedly on releasing their Android app in the country, researchers claim that 95 percent of China's population access the internet via mobile devices and Android dominates 80 percent of the Chinese mobile market making an Android app top priority for the company. The (successful) refusal of Google staff to work for the USA military has proved that workers have a say in the company's future. Google's search engine and other services are in the same predicament.
If (when?) Dragonfly does launch, expect Google to tell us why it took the decision to so, but don't expect any compromises to have been made by China.
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Having a native search app for those phones that Chinese users can access would represent a massive boon for the tech giant. The release of a new search engine in China would pit Google against Baidu, which accounts for a almost 70 percent share of the search market in China. The app has already been demonstrated to the Chinese government; the finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from Chinese officials. It is a version of Google Search which complies with the censorship rules the Chinese government imposes on internet services, meaning any and all terms the government deems unfit for public consumption will be removed from search results.
If Google does make the jump to the Chinese market, it'll be competing with Baidu, the entrenched local search engine.
Officially, the project will be a joint venture with a second, unnamed Chinese company, though all the work on development is occurring in Google's American offices. Most are based at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, though others are reportedly spread out across the United States. For the most part, Google search is inaccessible thanks to the "Great Firewall" that blocks many foreign internet services.
There was no guarantee the project would result in Google search returning to China. The censorship will apply across the platform: Google's image search, automatic spell check and suggested search features will incorporate the blacklists.
China's internet censorship laws are well-known.
"We are interested in setting up an innovation hub in Zhejiang to support Chinese developers, innovators and start-ups", a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.