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Google Apologises For Michelle Obama Snafu

After a supposedly racist result was noticed by surfers when they searched for US first lady Michelle Obama on Google’s image search, the search engine giant has issued an explanation on its search engine, related to the said result.

The clarification appears on the image search result page, which contains the offensive picture, as a link titled ‘Offensive Search Results’.

In the statement, Google said that “Google search results from the Internet can include disturbing content, even from innocuous queries. We assure you that the views expressed by such sites are not in any way endorsed by Google.”

However the search engine giant has refused to remove the image as its removal contradicted Google’s policy. Explaining its stand on removal of supposedly offensive content, Google has mentioned that it does not simply remove content just because it is unpopular.

The controversy materialized when image-search results for Michelle Obama displayed a morphed photograph of the first lady and the photograph depicted her as a monkey.

This will not be the first time that offensive materials have ranked high in the Google search result. In 2004, the top result for the word ‘Jew’ was an anti-Semitic website and Google had to extend a clarification on the same.

Our Comments

Good on Google to stick to its rules. Users should be able promote or bury the link and the image if they want to. Not surprisingly the picture and the link has mysteriously disappeared. Like for Google Streetview, Google has already provided with the necessary tools to take care of such isolated incidents.

Related Links

Racist image tops Google search results for Michelle Obama (opens in new tab)

(Computer World)

Should Google remove the racist Obama image? (opens in new tab)

(BBC)

Google apologises for offensive Michelle Obama image (opens in new tab)

(Express India)

Google Explains Offensive Michelle Obama Image in Search Results (opens in new tab)

(ABC News)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.