Lower Percentage of Those Surveyed Say Google is Biased After Manifesto Controversy

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We recently released the results of a survey of 1,000 people we conducted using Google Surveys about…what people think and know about Google. We conducted the survey in the spring of 2017 and released the data in our post on consumer confidence in Google late last month.

Soon after we released the findings, there was a major controversy around an internal memo written by a Google employee about Google’s idealogical and gender related biases (among other topics).

As a result, we decided to run the same survey question again through the same system. We used the exact same wording, and again used the Google Surveys platform. The findings were pretty interesting: the numbers actually swung in Google’s favor after the controversy, with a greater percentage of those surveyed answering no when asked post-manifesto-gate.

The gender break-down on this question was particularly interesting, with a much higher percentage of women trusting that Google isn’t biased than men (and a pronounced swing in that direction after the controversy).

Do you think Google search results are biased in any way? (All Respondents, March 6th)

Survey on Google's company bias

Do you think Google search results are biased in any way? (All Respondents, August 9th)

Do you think Google search results are biased in any way? (Male Respondents, March 6th)

Do you think Google search results are biased in any way? (Male Respondents, August 9th)

Do you think Google search results are biased in any way? (Female Respondents, March 6th)

Do you think Google search results are biased in any way? (Female Respondents, August 9th)

Important to note here is that the people surveyed in these two instances are not the same group, so this doesn’t necessarily indicate that specific individuals have changed their minds about Google Bias, but based on the above data it obviously seems:

  • While some believed this controversy may lead more people to consider Google biased, the data suggests the opposite is true
  • A greater percentage of men surveyed considered Google biased after the controversy than before
  • A much lower percentage of women surveyed considered Google biased after the controversy than before

This isn’t necessarily definitive proof that the controversy has been a net win for Google, but the pronounced before and after discrepancies are certainly interesting.

Methodology

Our survey data was collected using Google Surveys. Google Surveys makes use of the inferred demographic and location information to employ stratified sampling by distributing the surveys based on the targeted audience to our publisher network and/or android smartphone users. Click here to learn more about the Google Surveys methodology.