Why is Pinarayi Vijayan Google’s Answer to ‘Bad Chief Minister’?
A Google search of ‘bad chief minister’ throws up the Wikipedia page of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.
The latest victim of Google’s search algorithm is Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan whose Wikipedia page shows up when you look up “bad chief minister” in the search engine.
Vijayan has been receiving a lot of flak over his stance on entry of women into the Sabarimala shrine. Many believers, social activists, temple authorities and the Opposition in Kerala have accused the CM of meddling with tradition.
But amidst all this Vijayan has stood his ground and even helped two women under 50 to enter the shrine.
The supporters of Pinarayi Vijayan and CPI (M) suspect that the Opposition is behind this Google anomaly but not many of them have responded to the happening on social media.
This is not the first time Google searches have showed strange and unusual results.
In 2016, Narendra Modi’s image popped up in the search results for “Top 10 Criminals”, after which Google apologised to the leader.
“These results trouble us and are not reflective of the opinions of Google,” the search engine giant had said in a statement.
“Sometimes, the way images are described on the internet can yield surprising results to specific queries. We apologise for any confusion or misunderstanding this has caused. We’re continually working to improve our algorithms to prevent unexpected results like this.”Google’s apology statement in 2016.
In December 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai had to explain in a US Congressional hearing why a Google image search for “idiot” turned up pictures of US President Donald Trump. Pichai had said that Google doesn’t “manually intervene on any particular search result.”
Here’s the video of him explaining how a Google search works.
Many news reports like that of The Verge attributed this occurrence to outside parties manipulating Google’s search results, a tactic known as ‘Google Bombing’.
Google Bombing refers to the practice of increasing a webpage's rank for a specific Google search by exploiting its algorithm. Google bombing generally involves artificially inflating the number of pages that link to a page.
This algorithm anomaly dates back to the 2000s when searches for “miserable failure” showed results about President George W Bush; in 2009, searches for “Michelle Obama” showed pictures of her face retouched to have ape-like features.
And though Pichai’s explanation doesn’t really answer everything about the anomaly, it is fair to say that all Google search results must be taken with a pinch of salt. So Vijayan can relax.
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