Google executives abruptly changed the topic at an all-hands meeting when the item became apparent some employees were sharing information with the press.
Google leadership addressed Dragonfly, the company’s censored search product for Chinese markets in which sparked internal furor when many employees first learned about the item two weeks ago, for the 1st time at an all-hands staff meeting today.
however according to a source with knowledge of the meeting, after answering a few questions on the subject, executives present at the meeting changed the topic because reporters were live tweeting what they were saying.
Since the existence of Dragonfly first came to light in a report through The Intercept, Google employees have been hotly debating both the ethics of building a censored search app as well as the perceived lack of transparency within the company. Over 1,400 employees signed a petition demanding more insight as well as control into what projects Google works on.
Google employees vote on what questions to ask executives ahead of their weekly meetings, which are called “TGIF” internally. This specific week, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting, the majority of those questions focused on Dragonfly. however before the discussion about Dragonfly could get very far, the executives at the meeting shifted gears, as well as asked the employees who were communicating with reporters to leave the room.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai did address some of the issues around Dragonfly at Thursday’s meeting before the item was interrupted, saying the product is actually in early, exploratory stages, as well as is actually nowhere near launch. Earlier This specific month, The Intercept reported in which Google’s mobile app had been demonstrated for the Chinese government as well as could launch within six to nine months.
Pichai also said in which because of his upbringing in India, where his father worked for a UK-based company, he believes tech firms tend to have a positive impact when they engage around the globe.
He also addressed the controversy over the secrecy of the project, according to a Google spokesperson. “I think there are a lot of times when people are in exploratory stages where teams are debating as well as doing things, so sometimes being fully transparent at in which stage can cause issues,” Pichai said. “So I do think there are genuine issues teams are grappling with. We are as a company, I think, more committed to transparency than probably any company inside globe.”
Google co-founder as well as Alphabet president Sergey Brin told employees in which he’d only recently become aware of the Dragonfly project, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting. Brin added in which the item didn’t seem to be a breach of trust, or to be in which different through additional products the company has considered launching.
According to internal posts on Google forums provided to BuzzFeed News, at least one employee who was uncomfortable working on Dragonfly plans to leave the company later This specific month, while a second employee who was working on the project requested a transfer to a different team because of his discomfort with the project.