Google to Close China Search Engine Project

Dragonfly project is closed due to employees' protests
20 December 2018   586

The Intercept site reports that Google abandoned the project called Dragonfly, a search engine for China with the censorship feature. The reason - protests from the Google team responsible for data privacy.

The Intercept found out that Dragonfly’s search algorithm was based on a large database of Chinese user requests that Google collected through 265.com. It is owned by a Google subsidiary registered in Beijing. The site shows news, horoscopes, allows you to search for photos, videos and other resources, however, it does not process requests, but redirects them to Baidu. The company's engineers used the collected data to tune the search algorithm.

Usually, the question of analyzing search queries is considered by the Google team responsible for data privacy. It is necessary that the company does not violate the rights of users. However, employees learned about collecting information through 265.com only after the publication of The Intercept. They went into conflict with the leadership, and after a series of discussions, it was decided to abandon data collection through this resource. According to insiders, this imposed a serious restriction on the developers.

Over the past few weeks, engineers have tried to use data that Google normally collects in other countries. However, requests for Mandarin Chinese people are different from those entered into the search in the same language residents, for example, the United States or Malaysia. This, according to insiders, has made the development of the project virtually impossible.

The publication noted that Google has recently completely transferred several development teams from Dragonfly to products related to other countries.

The closure of the project was hit hard by Google's top managers, including the company's CEO, Sundar Pichai. According to insiders, Pichai put the development of Dragonfly in priority for two years.

Rumors about the Dragonfly project first appeared in August and immediately caused protests from the public and Google employees. Outrage caused a possible change in Google’s freedom of speech policy. In 2013, it left the Chinese market, because the censorship required by the state was contrary to the principles of the company, and after a few years she wanted to return with a finished product fully compliant with Chinese law.

Vulnerabilities to be Found in Android & Google Photo

As reported, they are already patched, but affected millions of users around the world
21 March 2019   120

Detected bugs in Android and Google Photos, which led to data leaks. They are already patched, but affected millions of users around the world.

The Android vulnerability was covered in the WebView component and affected all versions of Android from 4.4 and above. WebView allows you to embed web browsing into an Android application and was originally part of Chromium. This means that the vulnerability applies not only to the mobile version of Chrome, but to all Android browsers based on this engine.

Using a vulnerability in WebView, an attacker could gain access to user accounts, browser history and other data.

It turns out that the web version of the Google Photo service revealed user data when attacking via third-party channels. An attacker can get the metadata of the photos, as well as information about where the picture was taken.