Published: Thu, December 13, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

Google CEO denies plans for China search engine

Google CEO denies plans for China search engine

Sundar Pichai's appearance before the House Judiciary Committee was meant to discuss a number of issues.

Several Republicans on the committee complained that Google displayed too many negative stories about them in its search results, and claimed that there was "bias against conservatives" on the platform.

Pichai argued that there were no real evidence against such bias, and no independent studies to confirm such accusations.

The issue of user privacy also came up over and over.

Cicilline also pressed Pichai on his evasive responses over whether Google was going to re-enter the Chinese market, a major concern considering the ethical questions about working to support China's surveillance state.

Pichai's appearance Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee came after he angered members of a Senate panel in September by declining their invitation to testify about foreign governments' manipulation of online services to sway USA elections.

The Google CEO - who was at the hearing to address allegations of political bias in his company's widely used search engine - said the results were based on billions of keywords ranked according to over 200 factors such as relevance, popularity, how others were using the search term, to determine how to best match a query with results.

The tech executive explained that no one "manually intervenes on a particular search result" - saying that means there is no political bias.

Politicians have already demanded to know why Google seems willing to censor search results at the behest of Chinese Community Party but has pulled back from two contracts with the USA military.

Among the questions was why image searches for the word "idiot" lead to photos of U.S. President Donald Trump.

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Watch the full interview above and see House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy's take on the hearing below.

Asked whether Murillo does "good work", Pichai said he was not "directly familiar" with her work.

Momentum is building in Congress for legislation to put stricter limits and privacy protections around the big tech companies' collection of data.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said Pro-Trump articles or content about immigration laws gets flagged as hate speech, and not a single right-leaning site appeared on the first page of the search results.

Rep. Steve Chabot brought us one of the most unfortunate self-owns of the hearing while discussing Google search and anti-conservative bias. If he moved to the left toward his Democratic colleagues on the panel, would Google know?

Goodlatte said Congress did not get all the answers it wanted from Pichai, but he agreed to provide further information.

The link between the two was mentioned during a congressional grilling of Google chief executive Sundar Pichai.

In the past, Mr Trump has accused Google of rigging search results to suppress conservative viewpoints and highlight coverage from media that he says distribute "fake news".

Later in his testimony, Pichai acknowledged that a team of more than 100 engineers had worked on a censored version of its search engine - a project that had been "under way for a while".

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