Menu
Google to change Maps search system after offensive White House results

Google to change Maps search system after offensive White House results

Some searches for racist terms that previously triggered the White House now return nothing

Google I/O 2013

Google I/O 2013

Google said Thursday it would make changes to its Maps search system after racist search terms brought up the White House among their top results.

In Google Maps, some queries containing racist terms against African-Americans listed the White House and other surprising places among their top results. Google apologized and said it was working on a fix, but it had little else to say about what was causing the results to appear or how the company would fix the issue.

Now Google is providing more information. The company has begun to update its ranking system to address a majority of the searches in question, by building on a previous algorithmic change that was developed for Google Search, Google said in a blog post.

The previous change Google made to its algorithm, around 2007, was designed to address instances when some sites would rank more highly in search results for meaningless queries due to pranks by users.

The results recently spotted in Maps typically were triggered because people had used the offensive term in online discussions of the place, Google said in its blog post. As a result, "inappropriate" results surfaced that users probably weren't looking for, the company said.

For the racist term searches, Google's changes seem to already have had an effect. On Thursday, some searches that previously returned the White House instead gave no result.

In general, Google Maps returns results based on content about businesses and other public places from across the Web.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileinternetGooglesearch enginesanalyticsInternet-based applications and services

Featured

Slideshows

Bumper channel crowd kicks off first After Hours of 2018

Bumper channel crowd kicks off first After Hours of 2018

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar with a bumper crowd of partners, distributors and vendors descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kick-start 2018. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Bumper channel crowd kicks off first After Hours of 2018
Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

In 2017, merger and acquisitions fever reached new heights in New Zealand, with a host of big name deals dominating the headlines. Reseller News recaps the most important transactions of the Kiwi channel during the past 12 months.

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017
Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Show Comments