There's been a lot of talk recently how 'how Google is racist'. The reason for this is because if you do an image search on Google for 'three white teenagers' you get lots of pictures of happy smiling teenagers all having fun and hanging out together. However, the same search for 'three black teenagers' gives you lots of mug shots of black teenagers involved in varying sorts of crime.
Now, as you all know by now, I don't like Google, but to call it racist is to deeply misunderstand how it ranks information, why it ranks the way it does, and how it reflects on society as a whole. No-one at Google sat down and thought 'hmmm, how can we make black teenagers look bad? I know, we'll call up lots of pics of them in mug shots' and then wrote the code accordingly. Google doesn't really CARE about the search results you get, since that's not its job. Its job is to match your search query against a large number of algorithms and then display the results. of course, Google tweaks these algorithms on a regular basis, so they can't be held entirely free of the blame as to what their search engine turns up. However, lets look at what is happening here.
When you look at pictures of the white kids there are lots of stock photographs that you can buy. You buy them to use in your sales and advertising campaigns, because thats who a lot of advertisers are focused on, because white middle class kids have money to spend. It's not a reflection of how wonderful white kids are, or what they do, it's simply down to money. There's not so much money to be made out of black teenagers, so that immediate market simply doesn't exist in the same way.
Ironically now what's happening is that everyone is writing about three white/black kids and sharing images, so the entire image results have become completely messed up and Google is showing lots of pictures of white kids if you do a black kids search and vice versa.
What it does show isn't that Google is racist, it's that Google reacts to society, and the way in which people write about young people, and how they feel that society values them, or doesn't. The answer isn't to come down on Google as being racist, it's to look at the way in which children and teenagers are portrayed by all of us.