Why googling 'idiot' brings up Trump photos, Congresswoman asks Pichai

Marion JacobsDec 16, 2018

Earlier this week, Google's CEO Sundar Pichai faced a House Judiciary Committee in the United States Congress to answer questions about recent data breaches and other important security matters.

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech. Maybe it's just me being a baby, but these videos always end up making me reach for the Kleenex box. "How would that happen?"

Pichai offered a long, general explanation the way Google returns results, saying the search algorithm was based on billions of keywords that were ranked according to 200 factors.

There are several other points made where he said, "Things like relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it".

"We work hard to ensure the integrity of our products, and we've put a number of checks and balances in place to ensure they continue to live up to our standards".

Ms Lofgen cleared up: "So it's not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we're going to show the user?"

It was about this time a year ago, when, Google searches for bitcoins had overtaken searches related to Donald Trump and had ranked in two categories globally- both the in general news searches and "how to buy Bitcoin".

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Watch the C-Span footage of the hearing below. The reason these hearings are a waste of time, he said, is that the First Amendment of the Constitution protects the free speech rights of people and corporations, which would include search results.

In response to Republicans who complained about Google searches, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu said: "If you want positive search results, do positive things".

"This is working at scale, and we don't manually intervene on any particular search result", Pichai stressed. However, as Re/Code reported, Mr. Pichai did not use the hearing to deny that Google will make a version of its search tool for China that censors information.

A grilling of Google CEO saw the word "idiot" being searched for more than one million times.

Multiple third-party studies, including one conducted by DuckDuckGo last week and one commissioned by The Wall Street Journal in 2012, have found that Google provides unique search results for different users who search for identical terms, depending on each user's browsing history on his or her device.

"Google search results for "Trump News" shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media", he tweeted.

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