(CNN) - For most of the past week, when someone typed "Michelle Obama" in the popular search engine Google, one of the first images that came up was a picture of the American first lady altered to resemble a monkey.
On Wednesday morning, the racially offensive image appeared to have been removed from any Google Image searches for "Michelle Obama."
Google officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Google faced a firestorm of criticism over the episode. First, it banned the Web site that posted the photo, saying it could spread a malware virus. Then, when the image appeared on another Web site, Google let the photo stand. When a Google image search brought up the photo, an apologetic Google ad occasionally appeared above it.
The ad redirected users to a statement from Google which read, "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."
The California-based company then explained that search results rely on computer algorithms that take into account thousands of factors.
Updated: 12:52 p.m.