Last month, at Google’s 20th anniversary event, the company's head of search quickly shut down my question about the firm's ambitions in China. We'd heard, thanks to a slew of credible leaks, that the firm was developing a search engine for the country, one that would toe Beijing's line on censorship. "Right now all we've done is some exploration, but since we don't have any plans to launch something there's nothing much I can say about it," Ben Gomes said. He was repeating the company line on the project, codenamed Dragonfly, which was made public thanks only to various leaks, some high profile resignations and a petition signed by hundreds of Google employees protesting the idea.
Now, a freshly leaked transcript of Mr Gomes addressing employees suggests he perhaps wasn't being entirely forthcoming in our interview. Published by The Intercept on Tuesday, his words suggest an enthusiasm and readiness that arguably goes well beyond "exploration".