Google CEO explains why Donald Trump comes up in search for 'idiot'

Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before the U.S. Congress

Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before the U.S. Congress

His voice was so quiet at times he could barely be heard across the chambers of the House Judiciary Committee, and he faced a firing line of dour lawmakers, some of them intent on hammering the tech giant for alleged political bias. "To do otherwise would go against our core principles and our business interests".

In August, over a thousand Google employees signed a petition joining Amnesty International expressing their concern on the company's plan to launch a heavily censored version of its search engine in China.

"One of the things that's important to us as a company - we have a stated mission of providing users with information", Pichai said. "Are America's technology companies serving as instruments of freedom or instruments of control?"

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, ranking Democrat on the committee, called the charges "a completely illegitimate issue, which is the fantasy, dreamed up by some conservatives, that Google and other online platforms have an anti-conservative bias". Facebook and Twitter executives were questioned about their companies' practices during congressional testimony earlier this year. They see liberals at Google using the search company's products to push a left-leaning political agenda.

Pichai was the measured, mild-mannered political tenderfoot in a sea of Washington bombast, not showing agitation at the silliest of questions or taking his interrogators' bait.

"We're long past that high water mark of Silicon Valley's belief that they can solve these problems on their own or ignore the public pressure, " said Danny O'Brien, global director with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group. "But given their size and their economic power, and some would argue political power based upon how search works and how YouTube works, there are a lot of questions to address". His reasoning? He had to go deep into several pages of search results to find what he decided was positive news coverage of the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

SpaceX Christmas delivery arrives at space station
SpaceX launched the Dragon ship Wednesday (Dec. 5) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Wednesday (Dec. 5). It is expected to splash down in the Pacific Ocean once it returns to Earth and will be retrieved by a recovery ship.

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai kicked off his first appearance before Congress Tuesday refuting claims of bias, explaining the company's privacy approach and stressing the company's American roots.

For another "counterpoint", Axios quotes three out of twelve academics (a one-quarter minority) who said they were "uncertain about the sources of bias".

Following the revelation of the project, human rights organisations, lawmakers and Google employees raised concerns about Google possibly complying with China's stringent internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Asian nation's search engine market.

Numerous lawmakers also asserted that Google uses its search engine as a propaganda machine that highlights news and opinions supporting its own view of how the world should be. Pichai said the effort was being led by the company's search team. Pichai said that data collected from Android phones depends on the apps that are installed and when they're being used (such as a fitness app tracking the steps you take).

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., told Pichai that the Dragonfly plan seemed to be "completely inconsistent" with Google's recently launched artificial intelligence principles, which state that the company will not "design or deploy" technologies whose objective "contravenes widely accepted principles of global law and human rights". "Somebody out there is doing something that just isn't working, if you're looking for unbiased results", said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio).

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