Michelle Obama image removed but Google policy unchanged

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2009 at 5:08 pm

OK so first the good news, the image has been removed by the website who posted it.

A search for Michelle Obama now actually returns pictures of Michelle.

Article about the apology from the site concerned over at the guardian 

The bad news however is that Google doesn't seem to have learned anything from this debacle and are just pleased to see the whole problem go away.

Not only was this a public relations disaster but it highlights some serious flaws in their rating engine. 
Putting the moral component to one side for a second (  don't be evil hmmpfh )  their engine was returning erroneous results. 

Instead of being happy to find out and changing their ranking accordingly they abdicated responsibility.

If I searched for apples and got oranges surely they would see how importat it was to fix this as soon as possible.  Failure to fix would mean people loosing confidence in the validity of their  search.  
Here we had thousands of peole pointing out that their search wasn't working as advertised, and thousands more who would have agreed that the image displayed as number one wasn't what they would have wanted to see. 

The image was the number one image, not because it was the most appropriate image for the search but because the site was trying and succeeding in their efforts to game Google’s search algorithms to garner site traffic.

Google aim to provide the most accurate image returns for the stated search.  The point is that this image was by no means what the majority of people typing Michelle Obama into the engine wanted to see.  Once it was there however the number clicking it to find out what the hell was going on would have been very high thus reinforcing the problem.

Should google be responsible for clearing up hateful material on the internet, no.

Should they be responsible for correcting errors or exploits in the way their search algorithm returns inappropriate results hell yes.

I believe in freedom of information I don’t think something should be removed just because I don’t like it.  

This is not a freedom of information issue.

The image was inappropriate and if it was within Google's power to re-rank it more appropriately then it had a duty to do so.

Unfortunately they don't agree.

Posted via email from Urban Ascetic


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