Wednesday, 01 May 2019 08:40

Pantene moves from hair care to search care, launching extension for safe unbiased browsing

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Pantene moves from hair care to search care, launching extension for safe unbiased browsing Image by Bernadette V from Pixabay

American hair-care product brand, Pantene, has announced the launch of its own free Web browser extension that it claims removes bias and sexualisation of women from searching.

The Procter & Gamble-owned brand has been in production since 1945 but on Tuesday made its mark on technology, accompanied by a full-size four-page wraparound cover to the daily USA Today newspaper.

Pantene’s contention is that much of searching is biased. Searching “greatest engineers” will yield male results, they say, which do not accurately represent the contributions women are making every day. “Cultural stereotypes distort their achievement and potential,” Pantene states.

Not all searches bring up men; Pantene also states a search for “school girl” delivers heavily sexualised results, as does searching for “Asian woman” in Spanish, among other examples.

Pantene’s answer is its own free browser extension, Search. Human. Equaliser. Or S.H.E. for short.

Pantene claims S.H.E. is an extension that can transform the way searches are done by helping remove some of the learned bias from search engine results. S.H.E. filters and repositions results returned by searches, “to yield more accurate representations”, the company says.

“By using S.H.E. you can influence the way search engines work today, giving women’s transformations the visibility they deserve. While using the extension, you can flag a term that S.H.E. hasn’t equalised yet. This helps S.H.E. make updates and continue to help transform results and the world,” Pantene explains.

More information including download links is online, as is a list of search terms currently being equalised.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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