Google Sorry For Photo App Calling African Americans Gorillas

GoogleWDnetStudio / Pixabay

Google boasted of its new photo app, which it launched last month with features such auto-tagging, organizing pictures and offering support across the categories like food, groups, things, animals, landscapes, people, etc. However, on Monday a repulsive incident was reported related to the photo app. Google has apologized for the snafu.

Google was quick to make amends

On Monday, an African American man, Jacky Alciné, checked his Google photo album only to find that he and his black female friend were labeled “gorillas” by the newly unfurled Google app. Alciné, who is a computer programmer, then posted screenshots of Google’s mistake on Twitter as proof along with this question: “What kind of sample image data you collected that would result in this son?”

Within hours, Google’s chief social architect, Yonaton Zunge, apologized and asked for permission to look deeper into Alcine’s account. On Tuesday, Zunge said the team still has to do a lot more as the app is still unable to recognize human faces, adding that the term ‘gorilla’ has been deleted from the app’s database.

Another Google spokesperson stated that the company is genuinely sorry for what happened and took immediate action to prevent this type of result in future. Further, the executive mentioned that they are working to fix this problem as soon as possible. According to ArsTechnica, the conversation between Zunge and Alcine consists of a number of apologies from Zunge and a strong thank you statement from Alcine.

Not the first incident for Google

This is not the first time Google messed up big-time. Previously, Google Maps displayed some weird results after getting infected by a bug. For instance, on typing “dumbf**k,” the app showed Delhi zoo results, and in the United States, typing “ni**a house” showed the White House. Just months ago, Google Maps on iOS was also infected by a bug. However, the search engine giant was quick to accept all these mistakes, apologize and resolve them quickly. Also Zunge noted that a while back, the app was infected with a virus and tagged all races of people as dogs.

Google has achieved far more than any other company in terms of artificial intelligence with advanced technologies in speech and photo recognition and natural language processing. However, the company acknowledges that its machine learning is still far from perfect.

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About the Author

Aman Jain
Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at

1 Comment on "Google Sorry For Photo App Calling African Americans Gorillas"

  1. Racism is deeply entrenched.

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