Google CEO Pichai speaks to Congress, explains why Trump appears when you image search "idiot"

The House Judiciary Committee welcomed Google CEO Sundar Pichai today to a hearing entitled: "Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices." Now you might recall that back in August, President Donald Trump claimed that Google was rigging its search engine to place negative news at the top of the results when the president was Googled. Even though Google denied this, there were rumblings about the administration regulating Google search.

Today, something similar happened during the hearings. As noted by The Verge, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) claimed during the proceedings to have "irrefutable" proof that Google's search results were biased against conservatives. Rep. Smith was referring to a study by Google critic Robert Epstein, and a study published by PJ Media, which the author himself called "non-scientific."

After this took place, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) attempted to prove that Google search was not politically biased when she surprisingly asked, "Right now, if you google the word 'idiot' under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that. How would that happen?"

Pichai then schooled the committee on how Google search works, explaining how the keyword (in this case, idiot) is matched against billions of web pages stored by Google. The possible results are ranked based on things like "relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it" and Google comes up with a response. The executive added that "This is working at scale, and we don’t manually intervene on any particular search result."

In this particular case, Trump critics knowledgeable about search engine optimization were able to game the results so that a image search for idiot would show pictures of Donald Trump.



1. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Lolz, Ok google. This seems like more of an attempt to save face after crying about alleged "election rigging"......We are all certain you never rig search results......

2. jellmoo

Posts: 2670; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Seriously? He literally explained how search works. It's why SEO is a thing...

4. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Seriously? They change the algorithm daily..... If google wants to game the results, guess what..... They can..... But you're right, life is just a conspiracy and the matrix owned us before we ever begun.

16. IT-Engineer

Posts: 584; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

you really believe that google will hardcode Trump = idiot; ?

27. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Is that what I said? Nope.... Nice comprehension fail. I said that it is not unreasonable to think that a group of whiny "I'm with her" failures would massage the algo to bump up "Trump is an idiot" results. Again, I don't even like Trump, but if it were just SEO, then every single result wouldn't be just Trump and his children minions. I know there are plenty of individuals associating Occasional-Cortex with idiot (rightfully so) on a daily basis. She doesn't even show up for the first 5 pages of results. (I didn't dig beyond that) However, you're right, this is just completely SEO based. There is no chance, whatsoever, that this may be the same whiny individuals that got James Demore fired intentionally link ranking what they want to be shown instead of what is actually the most popular......

24. jellmoo

Posts: 2670; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

A publicly traded company with a near trillion dollar market value is gaming algorithms out of petty spite to ensure that a man that is quite capable of making himself look like an idiot, looks like an idiot? What's next? Do you think the earth is flat? The moon landing is a hoax? Vaccines cause autism?

25. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Lol, nice red-herrings. Clearly you are completely incapable of reading. This isn't about Trump, it's about their "side". Also, when you owe political favors to people, everything is fair game. But it's clear you are incapable of thinking outside of your "side", so g'day useful idiot.

26. jellmoo

Posts: 2670; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Meh, if you choose not to understand how search, SEO or businesses work that's up to you. Enjoy the tinfoil hat dude.

28. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Ok sunshine. I completely don't know how it works..... Enjoy your bubble of "they can do no wrong.

29. jellmoo

Posts: 2670; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Oh no, they can and do in fact do wrong. It's a company. They strive to maximize profit. They just, as a general rule, don't resort to petty parlour tricks just for a laugh.

30. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Who said it was "for a laugh". It's to control the narrative. They already had a town hall about how this "happened" and "what they can do to prevent it from happening again". Excuse me if I don't think the company that felt the need to fire James Damore for actually speaking on facts and the thought bubble that is google, is above reproach. Everything they have done recently has proven they are just a bunch of ideologues that can't possibly handle dealing with the fact they might be wrong.

31. jellmoo

Posts: 2670; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

They're a publicly traded company. They are beholden to a board of directors whose job it is to maximize profits and create the biggest RoI possible. This is their mission. Search is their bread and butter. They aren't going to manipulate results and create risk for that. If you argue that they'd do it to create instances where their products and services see top result, I'd be a lot more inclined to buy into it. But for something as petty as this? It's nonsensical. Silicon Valley leans left, absolutely. But even if internal policies and decision making embrace leftist values, they do business with the country and the world as a whole.

33. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Who is they? You're saying that you always work by the book? Sure, it's not supposed to happen, but you know as well as I do that people will do what they want to do. They will skew things toward their perceived advantage. That is 100% what is happening here, whether you want to allow yourself to believe it or not.

6. warrenellis93

Posts: 558; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

Careful getting into politics, you know google is a monopoly and getting side tracked by trivial name calling is foolish

7. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

I call Trump a f--king idiot all the time.

10. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

And, you would be correct more than not. However, given the fact that Occasional-Cortex doesn't lead the list just the same as Trump, proves there is more than just a little good "SEO" going on here.

23. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

Yes, it´s a simple matter of SEO. Half the country thinks he´s an idiot and many websites are skewed to get more clicks as well as all the people on social media constantly calling him an idiot would skew the results of the algorithm. Plus, you´re thinking locally. Google applies it´s algorithms on a worldwide level. Most of the world knows who Trump is and thinks he´s an idiot, meanwhile Occasio-Cortez is merely a house member that only people that follow politics would know and most of those are DSA level fans,

8. Vogue1985 unregistered

Hahahaha GOOGLE the word "idiot". Google/Siri/Alexa who is the person on the image search Idiot

9. Vogue1985 unregistered

It's Fake NEWS

22. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1284; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Haha.. I see what you did there...

11. I_have_boxes

Posts: 74; Member since: Jun 02, 2018

They are correct, at least for image results anyway. Trump supporters did the same thing and got a picture of Trump as the first image result for "greatest President."

21. slashas

Posts: 147; Member since: Jul 17, 2017

Greatest idiot president :)

12. Peaceboy

Posts: 640; Member since: Oct 11, 2018

Let google punish for this. Bring google down.

17. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Well, for starter.. There are million of pages that placed "idiot" and "Trump" in same page, so it's not weird for Trump to show in "idiot" search. (probably just 1/10 of top result show him) Then.. Those people who use that keyword click "Trump" pages, that will raise Trump's index rating as "idiot" in google's SEO. Then it goes viral on socmed, gazillion people search "idiot" but see Trump image (at this point it's probably 1/2 of top result) For final punch, all media write news about it. The title they use strengthening the bond between "idiot" and "trump", and (most likely) they also include Trump's photo in their article (now Trump's face is 100% of "idiot" top search result). If you don't believe it, try search "idiot" and set custom time range to "Before Aug 1, 2018" only 1/4 of top search image result show "Trump", turn it back to before feb'2018 and it only show less than 1/10

18. Omaressameldin

Posts: 6; Member since: May 23, 2017

I just wanna point out out that Bing also has the same thing and I am pretty sure that both didn't somehow agree on doing this and it's just normal seo


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

It's funny because it is true!

20. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

It's just hurt to see those old farts deciding the future of our tech progress. They're totally technologically illiterate, they can't just force complex question to "yes" or "no" question. Just like on Zuckerberg's case, there are tons of cringy questions because those Senators didn't even know what they're asking about (some compilation of it ) Soon people will make compilation of cringy and stupid moments for Pichai's testimony.

32. xfire99

Posts: 1207; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

Google search just simple tell the truth that who is the idiot!

34. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Because the majority of Americsns and the world think and feel he is an idiot. 1000s of web pages paint him as an idiot. This isn't Google rigging results. The Govt needs to sit their @$$' down and shut the hell up.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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