Google co-founder Sergey Brin is the owner of what is reportedly
one of the world’s fastest motor yachts. The luxurious 240-foot
boat (pictured below) is worth $80 million and has nine cabins
and space for 18 guests and 16 crew. It has an open-air cinema, a
bar, and a jacuzzi on the sundeck, which can be converted into a
But that is all less interesting to me than the boat’s name:
Dragonfly. As I reported for The Intercept earlier this
month, Google has since spring 2017 been working on a secretive
project to launch a censored search engine in China. And the
internal code-name for the China project is… Dragonfly.
I’ll explain why this small detail is very curious.
Back in 2006, Google launched a censored search engine in China.
But four years later, in March 2010, it pulled the service out of
the country, citing Chinese government efforts to limit free
speech, block websites, and hack Google’s computer systems.
At that time, Sergey Brin was one of the main forces inside Google
arguing that the company should not be complicit in Chinese
government censorship. As a child, he had spent six years with his
family in the Soviet Union, and he was all too familiar with state
Even stranger: Gallagher reports that at an employee all-hands meeting to address this controversial project, Brin said he wasn’t aware of the project until The Intercept broke the story. So it’s either an amazing coincidence, or whoever named the project was trolling Brin. Google seems like a weird place.