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If you need to know something, there’s a yantra called Google (as my friend puts it) which has all the answers. But, we’re not very sure if the answers provided are always right. One, shouldn’t blindly believe in all the search results. Take this misogynistic case for that matter.
Recently, a Twitter user put up a tweet, that compared the Google search results of two very generic searches — North Indian Masalas and South Indian Masalas. The disparity in the pages that popped up is clearly shown.
@Google @sundarpichai Do you have an answer for this? pic.twitter.com/hgrBdlsVcB
— Veneesa Carmel🇮🇳 #WithRG (@VenesaHermijil) July 6, 2017
While for North India, normal masalas showed up in search results;
For the South Indian ones, the images were of voluptuous South Indian ladies, which were downright vulgar and a classic case of objectification of women.
This matter caught Congressman, Shashi Tharoor’s eyes and he asked Sundar Pichai and Google to fix it.
That's bizarre & disgraceful. @Google @sundarpichai can you explain — & fix? https://t.co/0MSylDtAYc
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 7, 2017
And, reflected how it reflects the understanding of intent.
. @Google: results reflect understanding of intent as wellas user happiness w/previous results4such queries."Hindi Masala"gives film results https://t.co/62ciGYAceq
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 8, 2017
Soon, reactions started pouring in and they were, TBH, mixed.
1. Some slammed Google.
It's so sick on d part of @Google
— HUSNA SHAIKH حُسنہ (@Husnashaikh177) July 7, 2017
2. One called Tharoor ignorant.
You can guess what "south indian figure" looks like. It's how people hv written about these topics, ignorant to call Google out pic.twitter.com/cUylQNWd8C
— आदि–࿗–हिंदू (@prakar) July 7, 2017
3. This guy tried explaining how Google algorithm works.
So that means people have actually created the webpages for these keywords with these obnoxious pictures . Google can't do much.
— سہیل خان (@SoheilKhanzada) July 7, 2017
4. And, this guy couldn’t hold back the exasperation.
Exasperating farrago of distortions misrepresentations & outright lies being broadcast by a showman masquerading as a search engine expert!
— Chandra Bhanu Jha (@chandra_09_04) July 7, 2017
5. This guy tried explaining ‘masalas’.
It is not a bug to be fixed. It is how AI works. Now in south india you call adult movies as masala, then you will see this masala only.
— कश्मीरी पंडित (@bhat_ankur) July 8, 2017
6. And, this is Indian Masala.
After the result of #southindianmasala by @Google
Search for INDIAN MASALA, it will show the actresses pics including @tamannaahspeaks pic.twitter.com/z8DlBLxcvj
— Abhishek 🇮🇳 (@AbhiSkush) July 7, 2017
This is downright disgusting and disrespectful to Indian women. Oh, wait, we almost forgot that’s how some people see women in our country and that’s how they are shown in potboilers (sadly).
So, maybe the search results can change, but when will the mindset change?
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