Why Googling the word 'idiot' brings up pictures of Donald Trump
- Author: David Armstrong Dec 13, 2018,
Dec 13, 2018, 2:01
"We don't manually intervene on any search", Pichai told Lofgren. For instance, Google Search will produce results based on over "200 signals" that examine factors like relevance and freshness, but through objective guidelines.
"So it's not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we are going to show the user?" "It's basically a compilation of what users are generating and trying to sort through that information".
Trump and some lawmakers have raised the possibility of asking regulators to investigate whether Google - which handles almost two of every three online searches in the USA - has abused its clout as a major gateway to the internet to stifle competition.
'We don't engage in partisan activities, ' Pichai told the panel. "There are times in the past where we debated the conditions to operate, and we explore a wide range of possibilities".
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, ranking Democrat on the committee, called the charges "a completely illegitimate issue, which is the fantasy, dreamed up by some conservatives, that Google and other online platforms have an anti-conservative bias".
He said Tuesday's hearing was the committee's fourth to address the topic - and he suggested he would move on to other topics, like the spread of misinformation online and Russians' efforts to influence U.S. elections online. That's another area of potential questions to Pichai by committee members.
Critics say there's so much evidence, in fact, that there's now a whole movie about the controversial issue.
Pichai said the search engine attempts to help people register to vote or find a polling place, but rejected assertions that the company paid for Latino voters' transportation to polls in some states.
Asked whether Murillo does "good work", Pichai said he was not "directly familiar" with her work.
He took on Republican Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, who said it was "irrefutable" that Google's search results were biased. "Because a free world depends on a free internet, we need to know that Google is on the side of the free world".
One of Google's most controversial projects is Dragonfly, reportedly a censored search engine for China, a country the company exited eight years ago.
During a separate exchange, Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa., probed Pichai further on China.
The Google CEO answered the question by saying, "Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company".
Not in this setting.
The hearing is Pichai's first public testimony before Congress. The committee declined Google's offer to send lower-level executives.