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Google’s search algorithm behind ‘anti-national JNU’ in Maps

Typing ‘anti-national’ in Google Maps search bar shows JNU campus. Google calls it a bug and says they’re working on a fix.

tech Updated: Mar 26, 2016 16:24 IST
Google Maps,JNU,Jawaharlal Nehru University
Typing ‘anti-national’ in Google Maps search bar shows JNU campus. Google calls it a bug and says they’re working on a fix.(Google Maps)

Searching with keywords such as “anti-national” and “sedition” on Google Maps is directing users to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, which is caught in a row over its students being booked under sedition.

Students of the university have been agitating against the alleged “branding” of JNU as “anti-national”, and have taken strong objection to the “technical certification”.

Google authorities, when contacted, said they are trying to resolve the issue.

The controversy was apparently triggered by Google’s search algorithms, which take into account terms that are often used together to display search results.

Hence, the search engine is corelating several terms with JNU such as ‘anti-national’ or ‘sedition’ owing to their extreme usage in Google Maps reviews. These terms have been so much in the news that Google’s search algorithm is taking into account words associated with JNU to display results.

A Google spokesperson said, “We are aware of the issue and are working on a fix”.

A JNU faculty member, who did not wish to be named, said, “Though we have strong objections to JNU being referred to as anti-national but since Google Maps is throwing same results for patriotism and ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ as well, it could be a technical glitch too.”

Read more: Google Maps search for ‘sedition’ and ‘anti-national’ leads to JNU

However, this isn’t the first time that the map services of the tech-giant has landed in a situation like this.

Last year, the users were directed to White House when they searched for keyword “nigger house” and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name was reflected in search of top 10 criminals. In both the cases, Google had apologised to them for the technical errors.

Read more: This is how PM Modi showed up in Google’s #Top10Criminals list

First Published: Mar 26, 2016 13:10 IST