Economy

Google CEO evasive when asked about Dragonfly by Congress

Google CEO evasive when asked about Dragonfly by Congress

"As an American company, we cherish the values and freedoms that have allowed us to grow and serve so many users", Pichai said in opening remarks released by the committee on Monday. Pichai responded that his company's search algorithms "have no notion of political sentiment".

Rep. Jerrold Nadler of NY, the committee's top Democrat, called the notion of bias a "delusion" and a "right-wing conspiracy theory".

An email indicating Google attempted to boost the Latino vote in "key states" during the 2016 election put Google CEO Sundar Pichai on the spot during a House hearing on Tuesday. "We don't manually intervene on any particular search result".

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.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) took it upon himself to tell Pichai how his own company works after asking if Google employees have ever been punished for manipulating search results. "And you know, and when we find violations on our policies, we do remove those videos and handle content", Pichai replied.

McCarthy said he is questioning why there are 100 engineers said to be working on a project in China, while noting the tech giant's power: 90 percent of all Internet searches go through Google, and 2/3 of adults now get their information from the Internet.

But for the tens of thousands of people who were watching the hearing online via live stream, Pichai's carefully prepared testimony was disturbed by a unusually dressed man in the background who appeared to be the "Rich Uncle Pennybags" from the board game Monopoly.

Pichai went to Washington later in September to mend fences, meeting with some two dozen Republicans and indicating he also planned to meet with Democrats.

The hearing comes as the Google Plus social network, which accidentally exposed 52 million accounts for several days, is being shut down. "Getting access to information is an important human right, so we always are compelled across the world to try hard to provide that information".

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Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010 after China insisted on censoring search results.

The hearing was called by House GOP leaders to shine the spotlight on Google's search algorithms, which Republican critics say suppress conservative viewpoints and give prominence to liberal media voices because Silicon Valley's work force leans left politically.

It was not until Pichai began to face questions on China that he began to look at times uncomfortable.

At the same time, Pichai repeated a feel-good message aimed at comforting angry politicians demanding immediate action: Like any company, Google can and will improve.

Google has good reason to communicate with lawmakers and policymakers, and to seek to weigh in on thorny issues.

The Guardian reported recently that the "idiot" search result is partly because the Green Day song American Idiot was used by protesters to soundtrack Trump's trip to London.

Pichai said the data collected would depend on the applications installed and privacy options chosen.

For those who want to tune in, the House Judiciary Committee will be streaming it live via YouTube.