A distorted image of Michelle Obama has surfaced on the internet in the past few days, but the Los Angeles Times reports this morning that Google would not remove the image from its index. Google says it does not remove any page unless it contains illegal content or violates the company’s webmaster guidelines. In an advertisement that appears over the image, Google apologizes for any feelings hurt using the popular search engine and directs a link to lengthier message explaining how the Google algorithm works. Google in this message also says that it agrees the image is offensive and that it does not represent Google in any way.
In March 2009, Matt Cutts the head of Google’s web spam team published a blog post on why Google does not remove pages simply because someone does not like their content. It appears that Google is holding on to their standard practices despite of the pressure from the white house and the public to stray from the norm on this particular case.
This unfortunate image is a reminder to all of us that Google Image Search results are an integral part of ones Google CV. It is vital to monitor all types of content that are associated with the name of a professional or a business in order to react and conduct damage control in a timely manner in times where an online reputation and image is being tarnished. In a blog post from September 21, 2009, we discussed how to remove embarrassing images from Google image Search. Back then we found rather silly photos of President George Bush and used him as our example. This time around, these images feel a lot more hateful.