The news of Google's efforts to create a censored search engine for the Chinese has elicited denunciations from sections the of U.S. press, which have scolded the company for collaborating with a "totalitarian" government. In 2016, the company began developing a new search engine - code-named Dragonfly - to be more compliant with Chinese government restrictions.
With the secret project, Google employees are reportedly anxious that they might unknowingly be working on technology that could help China hide information from its people.
"The team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now, and I think they are exploring many options", Pichai said during an internal meeting.
Employees have demanded that the company be more transparent about its decisions, and the letter also calls the project's ethics into question.
However, eventually, Google pulled out of China completely in 2010 after several large-scale attacks on the company purportedly by the Chinese government. The search engine would be censored and would not show content that Bejing has banned.
Google employees have signed a letter protesting the company's secretive plan to build a search engine that would comply with censorship.
At that time, Google Engineering Vice President Ben Gomes announced changes to the company's search algorithm aimed at promoting "authoritative" news sources over "alternative viewpoints".
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told staff that though development is in an early stage, providing more services in the world's most populous country fits with Google's global mission. According to its most recent quarterly report, Alphabet (Google's parent company), employed 89,058 people as of June 30.
After a separate petition this year, Google announced it would not renew a project to help the US military develop artificial intelligence technology for drones. I genuinely do believe we have a positive impact when we engage around the world and I don't see any reason why that would be different in China.
This one is not a sole example of Google employees have spoken against the decisions of the company.
"We are not close to launching a search product in China", Mr Pichai said.
Google was forced to backtrack, nominally canceling the "Project Maven" program and adopting a set of ethical guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence. We definitely do plan to engage more and talk more.
Well, where is the ethics in this project that Google might be undertaking.