Google restricts its recommender-system for search queries (aka auto-completion) for election-related searches

Google (Pandu Nayak, VP Search) announced yesterday that Google would expand its “protection” policies to its search-query recommender-system a.k.a. auto-completion for election-related searches.

We expanded our Autocomplete policies related to elections, and we will remove predictions that could be interpreted as claims for or against any candidate or political party. We will also remove predictions that could be interpreted as a claim about participation in the election—like statements about voting methods, requirements, or the status of voting locations—or the integrity or legitimacy of electoral processes, such as the security of the election. What this means in practice is that predictions like “you can vote by phone” as well as “you can’t vote by phone,” or a prediction that says “donate to” any party or candidate, should not appear in Autocomplete. Whether or not a prediction appears, you can still search for whatever you’d like and find results.

However, as of now (11. September 2020), Google seems to have not yet rolled out this feature (in all countries? I am searching from Germany). As shown below, when searching for “you can vote by” Google makes recommendations.

For searches like “Donald Trump is” Google seems to have applied the policy as the recommendations seem quite neutral (see below). I may be wrong, but I would assume that there are many not-so-neutral searches about Donald Trump (both negative and positive).

For the German chancellor Angela Merkel such a policy seems not to be in place. Typing “Angela Merkel is” leads to some suggestions that she probably wouldn’t like so much including “angela merkel is hitlers tochter” (“tochter” is German for “daughter”).

More information also at Techcrunch:

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