Google CEO explains to Congress why searching for 'idiot' turns up pictures of Trump

Published Dec. 12, 2018 8:32 a.m. ET
Updated Dec. 12, 2018 10:13 a.m. ET
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The word “idiot” quickly became the most searched term on Google after Democratic congresswoman Zoe Lofgren pointed out results from the search reveal pictures of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Lofgren posed the question to Google CEO Sundar Pichai during a congressional hearing on Tuesday about potential bias among the website’s searches.

“If you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that. How would that happen?” she asked.

Pichai replied by saying Google’s searches are based on multiple factors that determine the end result.

“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,” he testified. “Based on that, at any given time, we try to rank and find the best search results for that query.”

The word “idiot” was the most-searched term on Tuesday with more than 1 million searches, according to Google Trends.

Trump’s face also appears on Google image searches for “stupid” and “racist.”

In the early 2000s, the term “miserable failure” revealed images of Former President George W. Bush and documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly called Zoe Lofgren a Republican. She is in fact a Democratic congresswoman. CTVNews.ca regrets the error.


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