Why googling 'idiot' brings up Donald Trump photos, Congresswoman asks Sundar Pichai

Republican Bob Goodlatte asked how much personal information Google absorbs via its Android mobile software.

Republican Steve King asking Mr Pichai to explain why his granddaughter's iPhone was acting strangely. Why are you presented with a results page that has Donald Trump's face all over it?

The CEO faced a wide range of grilling from Republicans and Democrats on a swath of issues ranging from privacy to the company's plans in repressive China. "And we make it very obvious".

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), for instance, asked Pichai to explain why "96 percent of the references to Trump are from liberal media?"

Pichai said the company doesn't manually intervene on any particular search result.

"We build our products in a neutral way", Pichai said in one exchange with a lawmaker, and added later: "We approach our work without any political bias". "But we have looked at results on our top news category".

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Trump adviser Roger Stone showed up for the hearing, standing in line with the public for seats in the room.

Breitbart would understandably be hard-pressed to survive without Google ads as about two-fifths of its USA online advertising revenues flow through the tech giant.

"I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way", the India-born Pichai said in a prepared statement.

Watch the full interview above and see House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy's take on the hearing below. And we try to do it objectively, using a set of rubrics.

"You bet on the wrong country, Sundar!" In an Infowars stream of proceedings titled "Live at the Google Treason Hearings", Jones called Google "absolutely the most terrible corporation on earth".

The Infowars personality, who has accused tech platforms of censoring him, previously appeared outside a September hearing with Twitter Inc.

Google had previously declined to make Pichai available for a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, even though Dorsey and Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg did attend, leading to the empty chair in Pichai's place.

The question of bias has dogged tech companies for years, but there has been no credible evidence that political leanings factor into Google's search algorithm. "But right now, there are no plans to launch in China".

"Congressman, one of the things that's important for us as a company, we have a stated mission of providing users with information, and so we always think it's in our duty to explore possibilities to give users access to information", Pichai answered. China is the largest market for internet users.

Pichai's claim that the company does not have a plan to launch the search engine in China contradicted a leaked transcript from a private meeting inside the company.

"Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China: we object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be", dozens of Google employees said in an open letter last month.

He also weighed in on whether the U.S. should adopt data privacy rules like Europe's GDPR, which went into effect earlier this year.

Pichai isn't the first tech titan to undergo a grilling on Capital Hill.

  • Zachary Reyes