House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., spoke to Fox News on Tuesday night about his biggest concerns with the future of Google after the search giant's CEO sparred with lawmakers at a hearing.
Although he noted issues of privacy and political bias as well as a widening gap of distrust between tech companies and the American people, McCarthy said on "The Story with Martha MacCallum" that Google’s next steps in China concern him the most.
“When Google was created, their motto was ‘do no harm,’ they took that away a year or so ago, I wonder why,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said he is questioning why there are 100 engineers said to be working on a project in China, while noting the tech giant’s power: 90 percent of all Internet searches go through Google, and 2/3 of adults now get their information from the Internet.
“My true belief is a free world needs a free and open Internet,” he noted, questioning China’s technological companies and political orthodoxies: “Do they want to be a part of the free world?”
Republican lawmakers grilled Sundar Pichai, who became CEO in 2015, Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers asked if tech companies are serving as instruments of freedom or instruments of control in the U.S. and beyond.
Pichai reiterated Google's position that it has no plans "right now" to re-enter China with a search engine generating censored results to comply with the demands of that country's Communist government. If that changes, Pichai promised to be "fully transparent" about the move. Pichai has said he wants Google to be in China serving Chinese users.
Google has not offered search services in China since it largely left the country in 2010.
Pichai's appearance Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee came after he angered members of a Senate panel in September by declining their invitation to testify about foreign governments' manipulation of online services to sway U.S. elections. Pichai's no-show at that hearing was marked by an empty chair for Google alongside the Facebook and Twitter executives.
Pichai went to Washington later in September to mend fences. He took part last week in a White House meeting with other tech industry executives that focused mainly on getting government and businesses working more closely on accelerating emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.
President Trump has accused Google of rigging search results to suppress conservative viewpoints and highlight coverage from media that he says distribute "fake news." The company has denied any such bias.
Fox News' Martha MacCallum and The Associated Press contributed to this report.