For the last couple weeks, we’ve been hearing that Laura Prepon is leaving the cast of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. Interestingly, she appears to be the face of the show, at least as far as the world’s largest search engine is concerned.
Google’s Knowledge Graph, which aims to show users quick info about whatever topic they’re looking for at a glance, uses Prepon’s picture as the main photo for the show. The images in the Knowledge Graph often point to whatever image is posted on Wikipedia, as this is where it often grabs the main info for a topic. In this case, it does grab the info from Wikipedia, but turns to Google Image Search for the photo (which it also often does).
The image WIkipedia shows is a more general title picture for the show, but is not listed as a Wikimedia Commons file, so that could have something to do with it.
Still, it’s interesting that Prepon, an apparently outgoing cast member is presented as the face of the show. It’s not necessarily surprising. I would assume that Google is somehow factoring in search popularity, and Bing recently told us that Prepon is the show’s most searched-for cast member.
If Prepon does in fact leave the show, it could be an interesting case study into how Google updates its Knowledge Graph as things change over time. Last month, Google apparently pushed a major update to the offering.
Another thing that I find interesting about Google’s results here is Google’s willingness to point users toward sexually explicit (even if mildly) content. If you switch to image results for the “orange is the new black” query, you can see Prepon’s image as the first one it shows.
If you look a little more closely, you can see that this is only part of a group of images with the label “Shower”. This is part of Google’s image carousel feature. The first regular image result is a poster for the show, which would arguably more appropriate for the Knowledge Graph result. It seems a bit odd that Google would even be pulling from this other query.
But in terms of sexually explicit material, it’s even more interesting, considering that Google has gone out of is way recently to make such material harder to find, even with SafeSearch turned off.
I’ll assume that “shower” is surfaced based on search popularity (you’ll notice that Prepon is in the carousel as well), and it’s still not as explicit as some of the stuff you’ll see Bing recommend on image searches (have you searched “ben affleck batman” with filtering turned off lately?), but it is an interesting example of Google’s efforts seemingly contradicting each other.
Lead Image: Orange is the New Black (Netflix) via YouTube