Google’s blacklist

Via 2600:

Google Instant is the latest incarnation of the search engine that fills in potential responses as you type them into the Google search bar. Some people think this is great while others feel like Google is reading their minds and are freaked out by it. We believe it’s fun for at least one reason.

Like everything these days, great care must be taken to ensure that as few people as possible are offended by anything. Google Instant is no exception. Somewhere within Google there exists a master list of “bad words” and evil concepts that Google Instant is programmed to not act upon, lest someone see something offensive in the instant results… even if that’s exactly what they typed into the search bar. We call it Google Blacklist.

Give it a try. Go to the Google home page. Type in “puppy” and see the many results that fill your screen. Now type “bitch” and admire the blank screen. In this case, the two words could mean the exact same thing. But Google Instant is erring on the side of caution, protecting the searcher from seeing something they may not want to see.

Obviously, all you have to do is hit return to get the results like you always could. However, even when your request isn’t blacklisted, you’re not getting the SAME results that you would get by hitting return. Entering “murder” into the search bar gets you suggestions of mostly band names. It’s only after you hit return that you can learn the other sinister meaning of the word. What we have here is a demonstration of how content can be filtered, controlled, and ultimately suppressed. It is indeed a good thing that Google isn’t evil.

Some of the “banned” terms I had never heard of before. (Did you know that “bastinado” refers to a torture technique involving the whipping of the feet which has been adapted into an erotic practice? If so, you’ve lead a more adventurous life than I have–though I imagine you’ve limped more.) But the overall trend is predictable; “disembowel” and “how to commit suicide” are A-okay, “vibrator” and “clitoris” are not. Mutilation and death are a-okay, but human anatomy is a no-go zone.

Neither is “lesbian” or “bisexual,” which is odd, because “gay,” “homosexual,” and even the slur “dyke” are all kosher.

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