Posted on October 20, 2021

Google Quietly Tweaks Image Search for Racially Diverse Results

Nico Grant, Bloomberg, October 19, 2021

Google updated its algorithms in an effort to promote more racially diverse results in image searches — the tech giant’s latest attempt to excise biases from the world’s most popular search engine.

The recent change, implemented without a formal announcement, is meant to present a variety of skin tones in image queries related to beauty, such as “beautiful skin” and “professional hairstyles,” as well as simpler people-related searches like “woman” or “happy family,” the Alphabet Inc.-owned company said Tuesday.


For years, Google has sought to avoid algorithmic racial biases, which have proved embarrassing to the company and offensive to users. In 2015, the tech giant apologized after its photo app misidentified Black people as gorillas. Now Google is looking to address subtler signs of bias, including image results that have reinforced European standards of beauty and suggested that Black hair is unprofessional.