When you search for something on Google, Google knows what you’re looking for, even if you’re not saying it exactly. Google search is smart like that. If you search for ‘hilarious videos’, Google will also show you results for ‘funny videos’ too (words that Google equates as synonyms pop up in bold in Google search results). So it’s troubling that Google thinks ‘gayest’ and ‘worst’ mean the same thing.
BuzzFeed found that when you search for ‘gayest trends’ or ‘gayest disney movies’, Google will list ’10 worst men’s fashion trends of the decade’ and ‘the eight worst movies in Disney history’ among its results, with ‘worst’ being bolded. As in gayest means worst. Newsflash! Gayest does not mean worst.
But of course it’s naive to think that people don’t use the term ‘gay’ to represent something as ‘being bad’ (even in 2013). You can still hear it on playgrounds and suburban cafes. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s not wrong. It’s a problem that needs to be fixed. And what’s most odd is to see the insensitive homophobic ‘definition’ of the word be reflected in Google searches. You would think Google would make some effort to scrub its algorithm clean. Google told BuzzFeed:
Google’s results, including when a search term is synonymized with another, are a reflection of content on the web and how people search. These results are determined by algorithms and we don’t manually correct this process, but we are always looking at how we can improve our algorithms.
Algorithms are jerks. [BuzzFeed]