Search queries for "Michelle Obama" surged today as a doctored photo of the first lady appeared on the first page of Google's search results. Many in the media are reporting that Google has taken out an advertisement apologizing for the image. This isn't completely accurate.
An explanation of our search results.
Sometimes Google search results from the Internet can include disturbing content, even from innocuous queries. We assure you that the views expressed by such sites are not in any way endorsed by Google.
Search engines are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the Internet. A site's ranking in Google's search results relies heavily on computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page's relevance to a given query.
The beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google, as well as the opinions of the general public, do not determine or impact our search results. Individual citizens and public interest groups do periodically urge us to remove particular links or otherwise adjust search results. Although Google reserves the right to address such requests individually, Google views the integrity of our search results as an extremely important priority. Accordingly, we do not remove a page from our search results simply because its content is unpopular or because we receive complaints concerning it. We will, however, remove pages from our results if we believe the page (or its site) violates our Webmaster Guidelines, if we believe we are required to do so by law, or at the request of the webmaster who is responsible for the page.
We apologize if you've had an upsetting experience using Google. We hope you understand our position regarding offensive results.
The Google Team
Google is not apologizing for the image, nor should they. Google develops and provides one of the better technologies used for searching the web pages of over 230 million websites. Google cannot, nor should not, police the internet. So if the internet offends you, Google apologizes.