US Senators scold Google over its now-defunct Huawei smart speaker plans


US Senators scold Google over its now-defunct Huawei smart speaker plans

How the Huawei-Google speaker may have looked

US SENATORS are asking questions related to Huawei’s joint venture with Google which would have seen a co-branded smart speaker until it was killed off by the White House ban.

Last month it emerged that the embattled Chinese firm was planning an Assistant speaker with the cooperation of the Alphabet Castle. It would have seen a worldwide release, except for China, where Google remains search-engine-non-grata.

The Republican (natch) senators, all of whom have shown beef with Huawei and the wider tech industry have joined forces, like some horrendous grey-suited Power Rangers, to demand answers to questions they have about how Google conducted itself in the process.

Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton have written to Google top dog Sundar Pichai questioning whether the company used “due diligence” when starting the joint venture, given the country’s suspicions over Huawei’s links to the Chinese government.

Questions asked include why it continued with the project after the first accusations against the company, whether it considered the risk to national security and if it would consider restarting the project, should the trade ban be lifted or to put it more bluntly: “Do you plan to resume helping Huawei install listening devices into American homes if the blacklist is lifted?”

Ouch.

The punches certainly aren’t pulled, with the three amigos accusing Google of putting “profits before country”.

The news comes just weeks after Google finally confirmed that ‘Project Dragonfly’, its plan to create a censored search engine for the Chinese market was definitely gone, over, kaput, thus leaving Google firmly out of the spotlight in China.

In a statement responding to the accusations, Google simply said: “We have no smart speakers in development with Huawei and will always prioritize privacy and security,”

Google has until the end of this month to issue a formal response. μ

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