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Google tracked banned words to refine rumored China search engine

According to the report, Google has been using a tool nicknamed BeaconTower to see if the final destinations of these searches would survive the Great Firewall. If they didn’t, Google would exclude them from the first page of results in its prototype Chinese search engine. The company wouldn’t have to spend as much time wondering about what it’s allowed to show, whether it’s an ages-old objection (such as acknowledging the Tiananmen Square massacre) or something relatively recent, such as the disappearance of activist Dong Yaoqiong.

Google hasn’t commented about these latest details, and previously declined to comment about the search engine citing policies against discussing “speculation.” If this is accurate, though, it suggests that Google has been looking into a potential Chinese search engine for a long time — even if its leadership has raised objections to the idea.

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