Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Hints of Democratic agenda as Google CEO testifies

Hints of Democratic agenda as Google CEO testifies

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

The CEO of Google appeared on Capitol Hill this week to answer lawmakers' questions about biased politics and Chinese censorship, and he returned to work after getting an earful.

Pichai replied by saying Google's searches are based on multiple factors that determine the end result. But when House Rep. David Cicilline asked Pichai point blank if, as CEO, he would rule out launching a "tool for surveillance and censorship in China", Pichai deflected.

According to Google Trends, "idiot" is now the number one most searched for term in the US.

Why is Donald Trump dominating Google Images page when a search is made using the word "idiot"?

"Right now, there are no plans for us to launch a search product in China", said Pichai. "It uses an algorithm that is designed by people to say some stuff's better and some stuff's worse".

"Any time you type in a keyword, as Google we have gone out and crawled and stored copies of billions of (web) pages in our index".

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Pichai appeared before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday to explain the scenario by California Representative Zoe Lofgren.

He said search algorithms reflected factors such as "relevance, freshness [and] popularity", and added that "we try to reflect what is newsworthy, what is now being discussed".

Tech companies building AI should factor in ethics early in the process to make certain artificial intelligence with "agency of its own" doesn't hurt people, Pichai said in an interview with the Washington Post.

Put simply, if people are posting a lot of pictures of Trump using the word "idiot", this will be reflected in the results.

Members of both parties pressed Pichai on the privacy implications of the company's sweeping data-collection practices across a range of services, including Gmail, Google Search and the Android mobile operating system. "But it's an area where we acknowledge there's more work to be done and will definitely continue doing that".

Part of the reason Trump is associated with the term may stem from a campaign to get Green Day's 2004 political anthem American Idiot to the top of the charts to coincide with his United Kingdom visit.

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.

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