Racist Obama image shines light on Web searching

When a racist image of first lady Michelle Obama surfaced from the ugliest corners of the Internet last week to top Google's image search results, the episode shined a spotlight on the mysterious workings of search engines.

Google placed an ad near the image, apologizing for its offensive nature. But the company resisted calls to scrub the image from its database, saying its role as a neutral tool for searching the Web means having to live with the results, whether it likes them or not.

"We have a bias toward free expression," Google spokesman Scott Rubin told CNN. "That means that some ugly things will show up."

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