Google LLC told U.S. lawmakers it is "thoughtfully considering a variety of options" on how to offer services in China, The Intercept reported, citing a letter from Google CEO Sundar Pichai that was sent to six U.S. senators.
Two of the addressed lawmakers — Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. — had earlier requested information from Pichai about a censored search engine the company was reportedly developing for China, purportedly codenamed "Dragonfly."
In Pichai's response, the Google chief executive did not share details on whether the Alphabet Inc. unit would release a search engine in China, as it "remains unclear," and he also refused to answer detailed questions about it.
Instead, Pichai said the company "can confirm that our work will continue to reflect our best assessment of how best to serve people around the world, as set forth in our mission and our code of conduct." He added that Google would be "more than happy" to inform the lawmakers about the company's future plans.
Warner said he was "really disappointed with Google's response," adding that "it failed to provide any information about Google's reported plans to consider launching a censored search engine in China," CNBC reported.
Earlier this month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence urged Google to end its reported efforts to build a censored search engine for China.
Google has been facing increasing scrutiny from policymakers in recent months. In August, President Donald Trump tweeted allegations that the company's search engine was only featuring negative news content about the president. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, subsequently said the administration is "taking a look" at regulating Google. The search giant denied the allegations of bias.
The European Commission, meanwhile, recently slapped the company with a record fine of €4.34 billion for violating EU antitrust laws in relation to the tech giant's Android mobile operating system. Google filed an appeal earlier this week.