Is Google Sexist?

 
 
By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2007-05-14 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Google's search algorithms have an odd tendency to promote men over women, says Dave Wischnowsky at the Chicago Trib. A reader wrote in to complain that Google discriminates against women when you use it to search for certain phrases and word combinations:

For example, the reader wrote, if you Google the phrase "she invents," the Web site spits out the suggestion: "Did you mean: he invents."

The same thing happens, he said, with many other two-word pairings such as "she owns," "she intelligent" and "she responsible."

Conversely, the reader asserted, you don't receive the suggestion "Did you mean: she invents" when you search for the phrase "he invents."

But the capper, according to the reader, was that if you Google "she" with many words stereotypically associated with women -- such as "cooks," "cleans," or "mops" -- the search engine does not offer up:

"Did you mean: he cooks" or "he cleans" or "he mops."

Google denies any bias. According to a spokesperson, "The algorithm provides a 'best-guess' alternative suggestion that we think might improve the search results, and is completely generated without human input. It can be thought of as a suggestion offer, rather than a definitive answer."

 

 

 
 
 
 
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