Google search for “Bar girl” showing pictures of Congress matriarch Sonia Gandhi

These days, a global debate is going on about the random and sometimes unexpected results of Google searches. The matter came into limelight when US Congress summoned Google CEO Sundar Pichai after it was found that President Trump’s picture was appearing as result of keyword search “idiot”. Then Pakistani Punjab’s assembly also passed a resolution to summon Pichai, when they found that PM Imran Khan’s pictures were popping up for the search of keyword “Bhikari” in Urdu. Now the latest name to have joined the list is that of former Congress President, Sonia Gandhi.

A simple Google searches for the keywords “Bar girl in India” or “Italian Bar girl” or even just “Bar girl” are bringing up the images of Sonia Gandhi.

The result is not something out of nowhere, Google searches web pages containing matching or similar keywords and bring them up. So if Congress matriarch’s picture is appearing as a result for “Bar girl”, that means there is considerable amount of content available across web pages which link her name to the abovementioned keyword.

Currently the world is divided into two camps regarding the Google searches. The first camp is of those who believe that search results are computer generated and unbiased which inly presents web pages that has a similar keyword or other links with it. While the other camp argues that behind every computer, there is a human being and hence the possibilities of results being manipulated can’t be ruled out.

During his meeting with the US Congress, Sundar Pichai explained Google’s system saying, “Any time you type in a keyword, as Google we have gone out and crawled and stored copies of billions of pages in our index. And we take the keyword and match it against their pages and rank them based on over 200 signals — things like relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it. And based on that, at any given time, we try to rank and find the best search results for that query. And then we evaluate them with external raters, and they evaluate it to objective guidelines. And that’s how we make sure the process is working.”

The Congress is yet to make an official comment on the issue.

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