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Google Sorry For Image Of Michelle Obama

From the UK’s Telegraph:

Google apologises for racist caricature in Michelle Obama search results

Google has apologised after a racist caricature of Michelle Obama became the top result for users searching for pictures of the US First Lady.

By Matthew Moore
25 Nov 2009

Anyone typing "Michelle Obama" into Google Images this morning was presented with an altered photo depicting the US president’s wife with animal features.

In a rare move, Google has posted a message on the top of the results page distancing itself from the image, in the box usually reserved for sponsored links.

The note, which states "Sometimes our search results can be offensive. We agree" directs users to a page explaining the technology giant’s policy on "disturbing" search results.

The message makes it clear that the Michelle Obama image is not endorsed by Google, but indicates that the company will take no action to have it removed.

"Google views the integrity of our search results as an extremely important priority," it states.

"Accordingly, we do not remove a page from our search results simply because its content is unpopular or because we receive complaints concerning it."

It ends: "We apologize if you’ve had an upsetting experience using Google. We hope you understand our position regarding offensive results."

Google search result rankings are determined by complex algorithms that take into account a number of factors. A powerful element in the calculations is how many other sites on the internet link to an image or web page from the search term text.

This means it is possible for mischievous web users to artificially inflate a search ranking in a process known as "Google bombing", although this usually requires the co-ordinated efforts of thousands of people.

For the record, here is the picture in question:

Contrary to the impression the article gives, however, this image is not among the top results when searching for images of simply “Michelle Obama.” It took us several word combination searches to find it.

Using similar words, we were quickly able to Google up these pictures of President Bush:

(Click to enlarge)

Needless to say, Google never apologized for any of those images of Mr. Bush.

And lest we forget, this is the same company that allowed the Google bomb “Bush is a miserable failure” to go on since 2003.

That is, until literally hours after Mr. Obama’s inauguration. When, because of the vagaries of the internet, it turned out that Mr. Obama’s name was now being linked to “miserable failure.”

As we noted at the time, Google then immediately killed the bomb. Something they had hitherto claimed was nigh unto impossible to do.

But yes, Google, along with MoveOn.org, want to be in charge of ‘Net Neutrality.’

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, November 25th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

17 Responses to “Google Sorry For Image Of Michelle Obama”

  1. Liberals Demise

    What’s to apologize for?

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
    Or versa visa!!

  2. proreason

    This makes me wonder what the results of the 2008 election would have been without Google.

  3. Right of the People

    That was photoshopped? Could have fooled me.

  4. specialed

    It was the top image for plain Michelle Obama searches yesterday.

    Amazing how google can update their search overnight.

    George Bush has monkey pics on page 1 still. Where is the outrage?

  5. canary

    Obama has a personal-direct relationship with Google. Aside, I recall an earlier statement Obama said, something about Google should charge people.., can’t remember exactly. Obama noticed a lack of blacks and Latinos working for Google, on his campaign-donor trip, mentioned in – 2006 book excerpts

    The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama (pg 138-142)

    And the planes, well, they’re nice….I was on a Citation X, sleek, ..The pilots hung up my coat,.. Rolls-Royce engines,
    I could see how people might get used to this.
    The purpose of that particular trip was fund-raising, mostly – preparation for my general election campaign, ….

    But, the most memorable part of the trip was a visit that I paid… where the search engine company Google, maintains it’s corporate headquarters.
    Google had already achieved iconic status… On the drive….I reviewed the company’s history: how two Standford Ph.D candidates in computer science, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, had collaborated in a dorm room to….;three employees operating out of a garage;… and how, six years after the company’s founding, Google was about to go public at stock prices that would make Mr. Page and Mr. Brin two of the richest people on earth. ….

    ….were met by Google’s general counsel, David Drummond, an African American around my age who’d made the arrangements for my visit….
    He took me on a tour….
    Eventually we found Larry Page, …..
    We spoke about Google’s mission -…
    My reverie was broken by the appearance of Sergey,…He suggested that I go with them to their TGIF assembly, ….when all of Google’s employees got together…David explained that these were the new hires,… At least half of the group looked Asian; a large percentage of the whites had Eastern European names. As far as I could tell,
    not one was black or Latino. Later, walking back to my car, I mentioned this to David and he nodded.
    “We know it’s a problem, ” he said, and mentioned efforts Google was making to provide scholarships to expand the pool of minority and female….students. In the meantime, Google needed to stay competitive, which meant hiring the top graduates.
    You could count on two hands, David told me, the number of black and Latino kids in those programs.
    In fact, according to David, just finding American-born engineers, whatever their race, was getting harder…: Since 9/11 a lot of foreign students were having second thought about studying in the States due to the difficulties in obtaining visas….
    ….David explained, that could spell trouble for the U.S. economy…he said, “….I just hope somebody in Washington understands how competitive things have become. Our dominance isn’t inevitable. “

    • Rusty Shackleford

      not one was black or Latino

      As always, the boy is a keen observer on how “all this applies to him”. And, as always, the rest of the passage indicates treating the symptoms, not the disease.

      Just hiring blacks and latinos doesn’t fix anything. The problem is endemic. The problem goes to a deep-seated and heavy indoctrination that being smart, or engaging in smart activities is a “betrayal of your roots” or some such BS. It’s the cool kids tripping the nerd in the lunchroom on a grand scale.

      For blacks, respect is rated in the following order:

      pro sports jock
      street thug rapper
      gangster movie creep
      (special bonus points if you can combine any or all of the above)
      criminal on a national level (same applies for mix-n-match)
      fathering more children than anyone else
      social agitator
      general nuisance/comedian (Sinbad, Cris Rock, etc)

      In black and latino culture the “baddest” mo-fo’s get the street cred and the hero worship.

      As long as they continue to give credit to such people, then the disease will prosper.

    • Liberals Demise

      “Spot on, Rusty!!”

  6. Rusty Shackleford

    I’m sorry too.

    Sorry she’s so ugly.

    Sorry the president is a marxist radical lefty muslim

    Sorry for the fact that the next five generations have to pay for this despicable travesty in spending.

    Sorry that the US is now a doormat for the muslims.

    Sorry that we won’t win in Afghanistan and that at NO-bama’s expense more will have to die for him to make his hollow point.

    • Confucius

      I’m sorry too.

      –I’m sorry that our educational school system has failed 53% of our population.

      –I’m sorry that we have Democrats.

      –And I’m most sorry that we can’t waterboard any of them.

  7. joeblough

    The geeks and suits at google are a bunch of nazis and nazi-lickers.

    It’s been obvious for a few years now.

    The progressivist society-first outlook produces such a plethora of toxic influences.

    Grotesque.

  8. Liberals Demise

    On second thought it looks (P)olitically (C)orrect to me.

  9. U NO HOO

    “to expand the pool of minority and female”

    Obama is a half minority, well, a quarter minority because he has no slave blood.

    So where does Obama get off defeating a full female minority, Hilary Klinton?

    And, and, and, she had a Jewish step grandfather. So there, you anti-semite Obama. Beck was right.

    Remember the white male senator upon election speaking to the senate bemoaning the lack of women and blacks?

  10. Moonspinner

    I am reminded of the Planet of the Apes.

  11. BigOil

    Where is the liberal government intervention in the private sector when you really need it? How muich longer can we stand having “Big Search Engine” operate unchecked? Clearly – we need to break up the monopolistic practices of Google and inject some competition into the market.

  12. The Redneck

    That’s why I use Google as little as possible. There are alternatives out there.


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