Google CEO Sundar Pichai fielded all sorts of questions from lawmakers on Tuesday regarding the company’s methods for producing search results, including one congresswoman who wanted to know why President Donald Trump’s image appears when the word “idiot” is typed into the search engine.
"Right now, if you Google the word 'idiot' under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) during a House Judiciary Committee hearing with Pichai.
Pichai responded with an explanation of how Google’s search engine works — and a denial that anyone at the company was manipulating search results.
“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,” he said in response
“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.”
Unlike some of her colleagues, Lofgren appeared to accept Pichai’s explanation and insistence that results are not being manipulated in favor of liberal viewpoints.
Lofgren responded by jokingly asking: "So it's not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we're going to show the user? It's basically a compilation of what users are generating."