In a House Judiciary Committee hearing in the US, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai was asked to give a general explanation of how Google search engine actually works. When typed a certain keyword, a picture irrelevant to the word typed comes up and most of us don’t even know why. For instance, “If you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up.” How could that be possible?
However, Sundar Pichai explained clearly. Amid congressional hearing about privacy and data collection, Republican Zoe Lofgren, seemingly googled it from the dais and the image results for “idiot” shows a page of mostly Trump pictures.
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai explained to the tech novices how the algorithms consider some factors like relevance, popularity. Pichai offered a long, basic explanation of how Google search works:
“Any time you type in a keyword, as Google we have gone out and crawled and stored copies of billions of [websites’] pages in our index. And we take the keyword and match it against their pages and rank them based on over 200 signals – things like relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it.
And based on that, at any given time, we try to rank and find the best search results for that query. And then we evaluate them with external raters, and they evaluate it to objective guidelines. And that’s how we make sure the process is working”.
“So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the user?” Lofgren asked sarcastically. “This is working at scale, and we don’t manually intervene on any particular search result,” replied Pichai.
“There’s a lot of people that think what I’m saying here is happening,” Chabot said. “And I think it’s happening.”