Rep. Zoe Lofgren on Tuesday pressed Google CEO Sundar Pichai to explain why so many pictures of President Donald Trump appear when she does a Google image search for the word “idiot.”
“Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that,” the California Democrat told Pichai during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday in Washington.
“How would that happen? How does search work so that would occur?” Lofgren asked Pichai during a hearing to address allegations of political bias in his company’s widely used search engine.
Lofgren explained that the results are based on billions of keywords ranked according to more than 200 factors such as relevance and popularity.
“We provide search today for any time you type in a keyword… we have gone out and stored copies of billions of pages in our index, and we take the keyword and match it against the pages and rank them based on over 200 signals,” Pichai replied. “Things like relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it. And based on that, you know, at any given time, we try to find the best results for that query.”
“So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the user?” Lofgren asked rhetorically. “It’s basically a compilation of what users are generating.”