Yesterday we covered news of a video from SourceFed that claimed Google was manipulating Google search autocomplete results in favor of Hillary Clinton. Since that story we’ve had many emails, Tweets and Google themselves refute the claim. Now Google has released a blog post to explain Google search autocomplete. Google isn’t reacting directly to SourceFed’s video in this post but they are offering as close to a detailed explanation of Google search autocomplete as they can without giving away their intellectual property. You can read the entire blog post below.
Over the last week we’ve received questions about our autocomplete feature. I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify a few things.
The autocomplete algorithm is designed to avoid completing a search for a person’s name with terms that are offensive or disparaging. We made this change a while ago following feedback that Autocomplete too often predicted offensive, hurtful or inappropriate queries about people. This filter operates according to the same rules no matter who the person is, as you can see in some examples here.
Autocomplete isn’t an exact science, and the output of the prediction algorithms changes frequently. Predictions are produced based on a number of factors including the popularity and freshness of search terms. Given that search activity varies, the terms that appears in Autocomplete for you may change over time. If you come across an Autocomplete prediction you consider offensive, please let us know.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Autocomplete predictions aren’t search results and don’t limit what you can search for. It’s a shortcut for those who are interested. You can still perform whatever search you want to, and of course, regardless of what you search for, we always strive to deliver the most relevant results from across the web.
We welcome feedback – and scrutiny – as it helps us provide you the best services. We recognize that your trust is what keeps you using Google, so we take our responsibility seriously. From the beginning, our approach has been to provide the most relevant answers, and we’ll continue doing just that.
What do you think of Google’s response? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
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