At the beginning of August, leaked documents obtained by The Intercept revealed that Google wanted to re-enter the sizable China market with a censored version of its namesake search engine. Controversy followed, given the kinds of things Google would have to block on behalf of the Chinese government.

However, the tech giant’s CEO told staffers at an all-hands meeting that a new version of its search engine for China was a long way off, if it even happens at all, according to transcripts seen by Bloomberg. According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, such an idea is only “exploratory” at the moment.

Pichai specifically said Google was “not close” to bringing search back to China, and it was “very unclear” whether or not the company would be allowed or would want to do it. A piece that ran in a state-owned newspaper in China earlier this month implied the company would be allowed to return on the condition that it follow regulations.

sundar Google CEO Sundar Pichai tried to ease concerns over the company's possible return to China. Pichai delivers the keynote address at the Google I/O 2018 Conference at Shoreline Amphitheater on May 8, 2018 in Mountain View, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If Google did return to the populous country, it would be with something referred to as “Project Dragonfly” in the leaked documents. Google’s engineers have worked on an Android app that would allow Chinese internet users to have access to its massive search database, but with the caveat that anything the government finds objectionable would be automatically filtered out.

Google has not operated its search engine in China since 2010, primarily due to the thing it would be complying with by completing Project Dragonfly. China’s “Great Firewall” prohibits the country’s more than 700 million internet users from seeing many western sites, including all major social networks and news sources. An internal company petition protesting Google’s supposed compliance with the Great Firewall was signed by more than 1,000 employees, per Bloomberg.

The petition also criticized Google’s upper management for not being open enough about its China plans. The meeting in question was reportedly the first time management had spoken to employees about possibly returning to China. Pichai promised more transparency in the future.

“I genuinely do believe we have a positive impact when we engage around the world and I don’t see any reason why that would be different in China,” Pichai said, according to Bloomberg. “We’ll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record here.”

Though Google does not operate its largest product in China, it does run two smaller apps in the country. One of them is used for file management, while the other is a language translation tool.