Google said Thursday that it had reined in the autocomplete function of its search engine to prevent it from favoring electoral candidates or political parties. It didn't take long for WIRED to find--and Google to hurriedly fix--breaches of the new policy, suggesting it is a work in progress. WIRED found that typing "donate" into the lucrative white box on Google.com After WIRED flagged them to the company, Google said Friday it had blocked those suggestions for breaking its new election-related policies for autocomplete. Google announced those policies at a press briefing Thursday that discussed several projects aimed at keeping falsehoods or bias out of search results and Google News. David Graff, senior director for global policy and standards, indicated the new rules for autocomplete were a response to divisions among US voters and fears about electoral integrity.
Google says it will no longer allow some autocomplete suggestions related to political candidates and the election, such as search predictions that could be viewed as making claims about the "the integrity or legitimacy of electoral processes." Google says it will no longer allow some autocomplete suggestions related to political candidates and the election, such as search predictions that could be viewed as making claims about the "the integrity or legitimacy of electoral processes." Google says it is making changes to its autocomplete feature ahead of the November presidential election. Autocomplete suggests possible search terms based on what a user starts typing. In a blog post, Google said it was removing suggestions that could be viewed as being for or against a particular candidate or party.
Autocomplete, a Google Search feature that uses prediction algorithms to suggest search queries as you type them, will stay neutral leading up to the upcoming U.S. presidential election. In a blog post outlining the latest changes to its Search and News products, Google explained that all text predictions that could be interpreted as claims for or against any political party or candidate will be removed from Autocomplete. Also, predictions that could be interpreted as claims about participation in the election, or the integrity or legitimacy of the election, will be removed. Google's examples for this are claims such as "you can vote by phone" or "you can't vote by phone," as well as predictions that say "donate to" any party or candidate. Google says its Autocomplete will stop displaying certain queries related to the upcoming elections.
"The Google poll has us leading Hillary Clinton by two points nationwide, and that's despite the fact that Google search engine was suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton," the Republican presidential nominee said in Wisconsin Wednesday, according to the New York Times. Google's autofilled results, the video claimed, didn't complete "Hillary Clinton cr" with "Hillary Clinton criminal investigation," for example. Mashable tested the claims against Google's autofill and search features in June and found that the search engine didn't seem to suppress anything. Even if Google's autocomplete doesn't offer to search for "Hillary Clinton criminal investigation," that wouldn't suppress any information for that search term.