If you search on for [Michelle Obama] in Google Image Search you will see a racist and offensive image of the first lady. We first reported this image back in ten days ago and then gave Google a hard time for removing the Obama result.
Well, the result is now back, hosted on a new site. But this time, Google bought a search ad explaining why the result is there and why Google cannot remove it:
If you click on the ad, you are taken to google.com/resultsinfo.html which reads:
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.
Sincerely, The Google Team
I am not sure how I feel about either. On the one hand, I hate to see this type of stuff in Google's results. On the other hand, I'd hate to see Google remove results based on a manual review and on their own ethical beliefs.
Forum discussion continued at Google Web Search Help.