Ahead of elections in UP PM Modi took a dig at Rahul Gandhi, saying, “If you google his name, then you will find the largest number of jokes on his name.” At an election rally at Bijnor, he also slated Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav’s decision to have coalition with the Congress. Modi said Akhilesh has sided with the Congress leader who has largest number of jokes on him in Google.
One need to understand, how Google search’s algorithm works is a well-kept secret that only a few top executives inside the world’s largely used search engine knows. However, over the last so many years GoogleBot – the web crawling bot or spider that scans websites to retrieve information – has faced criticism for not being accurate and for showing undue inclinations towards a few websites. Google has categorically denied these allegations and on a few occasions have even admitted that the results shown are based on over 200 Page Rank factors that decide which web page should come up on results page. Google says its search engine results page or SERP don’t reflect the company’s opinion or beliefs but it’s just what the robot thinks will give Google user the best answer for the query entered. Here are a few instances when the world’s best search algorithm Google faced criticism for not being accurate with its search results.
Let it be Rahul Gandhi jokes or PM Modi in the list of top 10 criminals, Google actually has no control. Today, PM Modi criticised Rahul Gandhi but when he had to face the same attack that time Google India was served a legal notice after the Google Image search results page for the keyword “Top 10 criminals” featured Modi’s image first. Google soon took a defensive stand and posted a disclaimer on the page saying, “These results don’t reflect Google’s opinion or our beliefs; our algorithms automatically matched the query to web pages with these images.”
India not a ‘Namak Haraam Country’: Google search result for the keyword ‘namak haraam country’ meaning ‘traitor country’ came up with a result that had Indian flag. Soon, Pakistani media took this up and made up stories that even Google knows that India is a traitor. A further investigation on this revealed that Namak Haraam was a 1973 Bollywood movie starring Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, and Rekha. The Indian flag was shown because the movie name was accompanied with the keyword “country”, giving users the result for the country where the movie was released.
Google News resulted in UAL stock crash: In 2008 the shares of United Airlines fell 75% after an old story featured in 2002 on Florida Sun-Sentinel website about the company filing bankruptcy resurfaced in Google news. Google later said that the error was the result of Sun-Sentinel website not having an original dateline inside the article, as a result of which the google bot one of the dates mentioned on the story page.
Google Map depiction of Indian borders: Google was forced to make changes in Google Maps and Google Earth in India after the government passed a law that says the wrong depiction of an India’s map which includes showing Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) or disputed areas of Arunachal Pradesh as not a part of India on any online platform or physical documents could elicit legal action that could lead to seven years imprisonment and heavy penalty of Rs 1 crore.
Google vs Federal Trade Commission: Google came under the scrutiny of Federal Trade Commission after it received complaints that the search engine giant is using deceptive methods to get clicks for paid ads. The FTC observed that it was difficult for users to differentiate between ads and organic search results in the SERP. After this Google made considerable changes to its ads, going to the extent of even displaying a blurb that read “Ad”. Google said that results to the query “top 10 criminals in India” was due to a British daily, which had an image of PM Modi and erroneous metadata. It said that in this case, the image search results were drawn from multiple news articles with images of PM Modi and his statements with regard to politicians with criminal background. The spokesperson added that the news articles do not link Modi to criminal activity, and the words just appeared in close proximity to each other. On the same theory, its Modi supporters who made Rahul Gandhi jokes famous on internet by posting anything to everything about him portray him a pappu or a lame character.
Irony is that most of the Indian politicians have worst of search engine results. However, when they have to take advantage against other politicians they go random attacking without looking into their own plight.
With inputs from Various Sources
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