In spite of Google apology, Modi still prominent in “Top 10 criminals” image search

It seems the Google search algorithms are all too easily subverted. I suspect that Google itself carries out “subversion” to put its favoured documents or images higher up in the list of “hits”.

BBCInternet giant Google has apologised after Indian PM Narendra Modi’s photos started appearing in the image search results for “Top 10 criminals”. 

“We apologise for any confusion or misunderstanding this has caused,” a Google statement said. Mr Modi figures prominently in the search alongside images of terrorists, murderers and dictators. Other world leaders on the list include former US president George Bush and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. 

Other prominent Indians who come up in the search include Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, lawyer Ram Jethmalani, fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt who is serving a jail term in connection with deadly blasts in Mumbai in 1993. “These results trouble us and are not reflective of the opinions of Google,” the company said in its statement released on Wednesday night.

But a search just now (screenshot below) shows that Google have not been able to correct their algorithms. In a Google image search for “top 10 criminals”, Narendra Modi appears 8 times among the first 40 images and more often than anyone else, even Osama bin Laden. I gave up counting after that but his image keeps cropping up. George Bush and Bill Gates are there as well. But I couldn’t find Tony Blair.

Modi as

Modi as “top 10 criminal” on google

The internet firm said the result was due to a British daily which had published an image of Mr Modi with erroneous metadata.

Really?

For 8 images out of 40?

It is pretty obvious that the results of a Google search do not represent a listing by popularity or importance. In fact the first 4 or 5 entries after the ads are often subverted. And switching from “News” to “web” to “images” or back again can very easily confuse the Google algorithms.

In any event it is best to assume that a Google search gives a list of mainly relevant results. The list is neither comprehensive nor objective. The ranking of hits on the list of is no real relevance since it can be so easily subverted and sometimes, it seems, the subversion is by Google itself. The first 4 or 5 “hits” after the obvious ads – for some searches – also seem to be sponsored in some way. Almost as if Google has overt and covert ads.

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