Google Employees Have Become the Company’s Moral Compass


Google is probably facing intense pressure to introduce more of its products in China, Mok said, but added that the company would lend legitimacy to government censorship if it debuted a censored search product in China.

1,400 employees at Google have joined together to challenge the tech monolith's recently leaked plans to introduce a censored search engine in China.

Googlers say that this would be a violation of the company's "don't be evil" mantra and are demanding more input into any decision about the company's future plans in the country, to allow them to do their jobs.

Google officials are also requested to have internally visible communications regarding “any new areas of substantial ethical concern”. But plans to engineer a censored version of its services for China have got Google staff up in arms, with employees questioning the morality of the endeavour.

The letter calls on executives to review ethics and transparency at the company.

Outrage stems both from the nature of Dragonfly - a product that some employees feel violates the AI Principles - and that many employees only learned about the search product's existence from news reports, rather than their own bosses.

"We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table, and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we're building", the signed letter reads.

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Reuters reported this month, the app is a bid to win approval from Beijing to provide a mobile search engine in China.

Pichai said Google's stated mission is "to organize the world's information", Bloomberg News reported, quoting a transcript of the employee meeting.

Only a few hundred of 88,000 employees at Google have been informed of the secret project, The Intercept claims. Indeed, the firm has never spoken publicly about the project, and for the time being is declining to comment.

Their last protest centered on the company's willingness to help the US military improve its drone program through Project Maven.

Three former employees involved with Google's past efforts in China told Reuters current leadership may see offering limited search results in China as better than providing no information at all. Nicknamed 'Dragonfly, ' the project is a 180-degree turn from Google's past experience in China.

The former employees said they doubt the Chinese government will welcome back Google.