Earlier this year, Google was accused of showing politically biased search results, and was also questioned about how their search algorithms work. Certain factors like Donald Trump’s images upon in search results of the word “idiot” had led the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai to give a three and a half hour long hearing before the House Judiciary Committee aka congress. Here are highlights of the what the Google boss had to say to the congress and the questions of congressmen.
Sundar Pichai said that their algorithms work “without political bias and work(s) to ensure that the products continue to operate that way” and added that it was not possible for an individual or group of employees to be able to perpetuate the search results. Pichai said, “We don’t manually intervene on any particular search results on their search engine” and it is practically not possible either.
Claiming while Google supports the federal privacy law, Pichai said that “protecting the privacy and security of our users has long been an essential part of our mission”. About privacy, a plethora of questions were asked about user’s data privacy and how a user can opt-in or opt-out of Google’s data collection policy. Among the questions was, “Does Google know that I was sitting here and that I moved over there?” to which Pichai answered, “not by default”. He further clarified that they believe in the fact that there always more to do about user’s privacy and making it easier to control their personal information.
When asked about Google’s market dominance, the Google chief cleared that they provide users with the best experiences and results they are looking for and provide the most relevant information to the user. About the Federal Trade Commission’s plans to develop legislative proposals to prevent the dominant parties from using their power to discriminate against competitors, Sundar Pichai said, “We are happy to engage constructively on legislation in any of these areas.”
Talking about “Project Dragonfly”, Pichai was asked about their censored search engine for China. But, Pichai said that currently there are no any necessary plans to launch a service in China, and the talks with Chinese government is still just “an internal effort”. He added at one point that they are having more than 100 employees working on that project. But, they are denying that they are explicitly launching a censored Chinese product.
Google was also asked to prevent piracy, as it showed up some results which offered pirated content of movies, TV shows, eBooks and other such content which infringes the copyright of the original content creator. Google was asked that they have not done enough to fight against copyright infringement, especially when it comes to ranking the search results. But, Google said that they have and the current law strikes appropriate balance.
A group named “Creative Future” kept tweeting throughout the hearing, and one of their tweet said upon piracy:
— CreativeFuture (@CreativeFuture) December 11, 2018
According to a research firm, more than 30% of users using pirate sites are brought by Google, and Google receives more than 900 million take-down notices flagging the copyright infringing videos.