Google's possible return to China - a market it abandoned over censorship concerns in 2010 - was first leaked in August by The Intercept which reported that the United States tech giant was secretly developing "Dragonfly", a custom-made search engine for the huge Chinese market.
Google has previously stated that they are "not close" to launching a search engine in China but recently leaked discussions paint a different picture.
The stage, which still requires Chinese government endorsement, would purportedly hinder certain sites and pursuit terms identified with human rights and religion. As for a censored search engine, Pichai said the company wanted to see what a Google search engine that complied with Chinese law would look like.
'We don't know whether we would or could do this in China but we felt it was important to explore, ' he said.
"I think it's important for us given how important the market is and how many users there are", he said.
Google has been providing its browsing services and affiliated applications across the world, but, surprisingly, Google has not occupied the Chinese Market as of yet. The tests showed that more than 99% of the search queries were served normally. Pichai maintains Google's principles would be advanced by reentering the lucrative Chinese market.
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"If Google were to operate in China, what would it look like?"
"There are many, many areas where we would provide information better than what's available", he added, referring to medical information such as cancer treatments.
Project Dragonfly inspired several Google employees to leave the company, either due to the nature of the project itself or the lack of transparency around it from upper management. Pichai specifically mentioned the problem of fake cancer treatments in search results - an issue Baidu has struggled with in the past.
The project, code-named Dragonfly, is not only real but is already performing to the satisfaction of top Google executives. He said Google was committed to its values of freedom of expression and user privacy - but "we also follow the rule of law".
A former Google employee warned of the web giant's "disturbing" plans in a letter sent to the US's senate's commerce committee in August.
When the decision to step away from JEDI was announced, Google also revealed the plans to completely scrap Google+, post-exposure of the massive software glitch that provided unauthorized invaders potential access to private profile data.