Why is Donald Trump dominating Google Images page when a search is made using the word “idiot”?
Sundar Pichai Google CEO testified before the House Judiciary Committee this week to address a wide array of concerns including potential anti-conservative bias. A highpoint of the hearing was when Representative Zoe Lofgren of California asked Pichai why Donald Trump appears in Google Image search for the word “idiot,” used as evidence of Google’s alleged bias.
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When Lofgren asked Pichai why the image for the word “idiot” is Donald Trump his response was an explanation of how Google search works: “We provide search today for – anytime you type in a keyword, we as Google, we have gone out and crawled and stored copies of billions of webpages in our index,” said Pichai. “We take the keyword and match it against web 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 results for that query. Then we evaluate them with external raters to make sure, and they evaluate it to objective guidelines, and that’s how we make sure the process is working.”
The method used by Google for organizing the billions of web pages has multiple factors, amongst the most important are:
- The authority of a website and whether the content of the page addresses what the searcher is looking for.
- Google´s team of Search Quality Raters to ensure that low-quality pages don’t start surfacing.
So… Why Does Donald Trump Appear on Google Images for ‘Idiot’?
The biggest reason why Trump appears throughout the search result is because people are writing about him appearing there. It may sound a bit absurd, but here are the headlines for the top 3 results for the search “idiot” in Google.
- Google hearing sees ‘idiot’ trending – BBC News – BBC.com
- “Why when you write idiot on Google Trump shows up”. By ABC Spain
- “Idiot” – from Wikipedia
How Trump’s image appears when you search for the word idiot on Google.
The search results are currently dominated by the stories above, it’s worth noting that the original articles that appeared on these results were other stories where Trump was being referred to as “an idiot.” Amongst those, an article from New York Magazine published in September with the headline “Report: Everybody in the White House Considers Trump an Idiot,” in reference to Bob Woodward’s book on Donald Trump’s presidency or articles that discount the label, such as CNN’s “Begala: Donald Trump Is No ‘Idiot'”, only help to push images of Trump to the top. Take for instance in late April the allegations of John Kelly referring to Trump as an idiot, which led to most major publications using the term in their headlines.
Basically, Trump appears under the search for the word “idiot” because regardless of whether it’s thrown at him or rebutted, the word follows him around. To give you an idea, the word “idiot” has been searched for more than one million times, following Sundar Pichai, Google CEO testimony.
Google Images showing pictures of Trump under the keyword “idiot” doesn’t prove an anti-conservative bias, however it does show that most people do not know or understand how Google works and after Pichai´s testimony and all the media that has written about it, chances are this trend will continue to maintain the same results on the search landscape.
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