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Censorship Google

Seven Words You Can't Say On Google Instant 257

Posted by timothy
from the cockney-slang-works-fine dept.
theodp writes "Back in 1972, Georgle Carlin gave us the Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television. Thirty-eight years later, Valleywag reports on The Definitive List of Words Google Thinks Are Naughty. You've probably noticed how the new Google Instant tries to guess what you're searching for while you type — unless it thinks your search is dirty, in which case you'll be forced to actually press ENTER to see your results. Leave it to the enterprising folks at 2600 to compile an exhaustive list of words and phrases Google Instant won't auto-search for."
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Seven Words You Can't Say On Google Instant

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  • Dear Puritans (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MRe_nl (306212) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @04:18AM (#33732178)

    Please stop trying to make everybody a victim of your own personal frustrations.
    It's not our fault you can't get laid.

  • Fair enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nick Fel (1320709) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @04:29AM (#33732220)
    Most people aren't going to want to accidentally see the contents of that list when they use Google at work, or with their kids. We've hit enter for years and survived, I think we can still manage it.
  • Re:I'm surprised. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Necroloth (1512791) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @04:32AM (#33732244)
    is it censorship when they still allow you to search the terms?
  • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @04:47AM (#33732324)
    This has nothing to do with censorship. They just don't want people searching "assignment" to have their screen jammed full of porn before you finish typing.
  • If I were to guess (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @04:48AM (#33732328)

    They just took terms that have a high probability of having something many would consider offensive showing up in the first few results. You have to remember they haven't disabled the searches, just disabled the instant search (which I hate anyhow). So you can type in the search press enter and Google will search as normal. What it won't do is instantly search.

    That might be why there are some normally benign terms there, because when searched for they come up with potentially offensive links.

    I'm ok with this idea. They aren't stopping the terms from being searched for, they aren't reordering their search. They are just trying to make sure people don't accidentally see things that would get them mad at Google. While I'm a proponent of the idea that people should stop being so whiny and easily offended, that doesn't mean Google shouldn't be pragmatic about it. This doesn't really affect anything in the big scheme of things.

  • Re:I'm surprised. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zwei2stein (782480) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @04:49AM (#33732332) Homepage

    It is not protection from naughty stuff, it is protection from embarassing searches.

    Say you are googling "Amateur Astronomy" with someone looking over your shoulder - do they really need to see "Amateur As" partial result (lots of porn links on that page)?

    They don't, neither do you. If you really want that result, press enter.

    Pretty much all of those terms lead to porn results on first page of searches (lots of seo power...).

  • Re:Fair enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Haedrian (1676506) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:39AM (#33732536)

    Many people have SafeSearch always off.

    This is to stop you getting porn when you're trying to look for something else - or someone is looking over your shoulder.

    Assignment will get you quite a bit of stuff by the time you typed the first three letters.

    And you can JUST PRESS ENTER. Wow, problem solved. Don't break your fingers buddy. Not censorship at all - its more a case of "Don't show me porn unless I ask for it".

  • Re:I'm surprised. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by delinear (991444) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:03AM (#33732624)
    But the point GP was making is, if you want the full list you just have to hit enter. Effectively you just have to do what you would have had to do a couple of weeks ago before the new service launched. If we're already so accustomed to using live search that the gargantuan effort of having to hit enter to see results which some people might find offensive (and let's face it, the whole reasoning behind this is to prevent the even bigger public outcry we would see when little Jimmy starts typing his search for "cuneiform" for his school history project and risks going blind three letters in) is considered "censorship", then we probably have bigger things to worry about. Either that or someone with an agenda - a competitor or someone trying to sell clicks with censorship horror stories - is trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.
  • Re:I'm surprised. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stile 65 (722451) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:06AM (#33732636) Homepage Journal

    I'm pretty sure this is a feature, not censorship.

    Imagine being at work and searching for something like "white power cord" or something. Now, yes, you could go to Google Shopping to search for it, or turn off Instant if you're going to be searching for things like that, but most people won't, and do you really want your company seeing you search for "white power?"

    As an example, I'm going to be raising some chickens in a while so I was looking up "how to test for salmonella." The instant search suggestion when I typed the "s" in "salmonella" was "STDs." I'd rather not be seen searching for *that* at work.

    It just makes sense that Google would avoid doing things that'll trip up your company's web filters if you're searching for innocuous things that temporarily turn less innocuous due to Google's own features and default settings.

  • Re:I'm surprised. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by V!NCENT (1105021) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:18AM (#33732670)

    it's basicaly a feature; What if you had to check something for school about different sexualities but before you finnished typing you get a list of all kinds of gay porn shit. Great succes when somebody else might be watching...

    That said you can still just hit the fucking Enter button and search it -_-'

  • by GauteL (29207) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:47AM (#33732782)

    Sometimes I get sick of the Slashdot knee-jerk mentality about anything that is remotely connected to free speech or censorship.

    First, many, many people surf the net with safe search OFF. This does not mean that you want porn showing up on every search, it doesn't even mean you want to get porn at all. You may simply want to make your own mind up about your search results. This works completely fine when you have to press enter to get your search results, because you can make a reasonably sound judgement about whether your search is safe before you press enter.

    When Google introduced instant, however, it suddenly wasn't so clear-cut. It would be ridiculously annoying if I had to make that judgement before every single letter I typed. It would also completely ruin the point of Google Instant, which is to make life easier for me.

    Google clearly decided that the most convenient thing for the vast majority of their users would be that they filter out naughty searches until you press enter. Perhaps they should have advertised this a bit more clearly, and perhaps they should allow you to turn it off, but overall this is a sensible solution and they can, in good conscience, claim that they still allow you to get all the naughty searches you want. You just have to press bloody enter.

    I actually hope Google doesn't give a toss about the tiny minority that gets worked up about this.

  • Re:I'm surprised. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fbjon (692006) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:53AM (#33732818) Homepage Journal
    How difficult is "hitting return to get full results"? Stop with the censorship bandwagon already, it's embarrassing when there is actual censorship going on in the world. And no, it's not a matter of varying degrees of it, this is barely even a metaphor for censorship.
  • Re:I'm surprised. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hope Thelps (322083) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @07:11AM (#33732940)

    It is not protection from naughty stuff, it is protection from embarassing searches.

    Yes, but not embarrasing for you, embarrasing for Google. Google doesn't want to have suggested to your children that they should be searching for "amateur ass". Google doesn't want to have suggested to your children that they search for "God is evil" in case some group is outraged at them for doing so - nobody is likely to have typed in "god is evi" if they weren't going there anyway, it's not going to embarrase you at work (or if it was then you wouldn't be typing it), but it's not something Google wants to have suggested.

  • by bn557 (183935) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @07:37AM (#33733114) Homepage Journal

    I'm guessing they have some algorithm that has blacklisted terms that the highest use patterns involve offensive material searches, regardless of the non offensive implications. Because they don't control their result ordering, these terms could provide offensive material in the future (or rather, are more likely to).

    All said and done, put me down in the `meh, doesn't bother me` camp though. I still hit enter with this due to the momentary lag between when I finish typing and the results showing up (slow internet connection).

  • by darthdavid (835069) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @07:54AM (#33733230) Homepage Journal

    Or the fact that, you know; blacks are a minority, have been historically oppressed, are still the subject of discrimination and were the subject of much greater discrimination when the black power movement was at it's peak popularity. And lets not forget that 99% of the people who use the phrase 'white power' are openly racist dickheads.

    Certainly, if there was, full stop, no discrimination against black people, 'black power' would be just as racist as 'white power' but as it stands there's a pretty big difference between a rallying cry to defeat historic racism against your ethnicity and a rallying cry to reinstate historic racism against anyone not of your ethnicity.

  • by berwiki (989827) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @08:07AM (#33733380)
    The results are going to disappear if the bulk of the returned links are Adult-Oriented, it has nothing to do with the Keywords you type.
    There is no magical 'banned list'.
    They probably use the same metrics as their 'SafeSearch' algorithm.
  • by jonbryce (703250) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @09:02AM (#33733906) Homepage

    Unless of course you are in Zimbabwe were the white minority is being suppressed by the black majority

  • Re: Dear Puritans (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @09:19AM (#33734084)
    I can tell you havent read very much of his work, as you wouldnt classify it primarily as "tales" or "truth telling". He dealt heavily in reasoning and logic in many of his books; while he did delve into theology on several occasions, you dont look at a book like "The Screwtape Letters" (or "Screwtape Proposes a Toast") and say "oh, thats a fairy tale" because it instantly brands you as someone who doesnt understand metaphor, allegory, and other similarly difficult literary devices.

    I would also point out that what "C.S. Lewis is ...known for" isnt decided by you, but public consensus; I will note that his fiction seems to be an afterthought in the Wikipedia summary:

    CS Lewis... was an Irish-born British novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist. He is also known for his fiction....

    (wikipedia, emphasis mine) [wikipedia.org]

  • by operagost (62405) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @09:37AM (#33734254) Homepage Journal
    No, I'm pretty sure that racist creeds are racist by definition. Preferring one over the other is the definition of racism.
  • by darthdavid (835069) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @10:16AM (#33734722) Homepage Journal

    I'm just as against that as I am the discrimination against minorities in this country.

    If white Zimbabweans need a rallying cry though, I'd personally suggest one with less... unfortunate implications... than are attached to 'white power'.

    Trying to use 'white power' for anything but a racist cause these days, well, it's like if your parents named you Adolf Josef Stalin Hitler Fuckthejews McFaghater, it doesn't much matter how sensible a platform you run on, come election day no one's gonna tick a box next to that name, too many bad connotations. Best just do distance yourself from the whole fiasco if you want any credibility, ya?

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @10:22AM (#33734810) Homepage Journal

    blacks are a minority

    So are Muslims, but I'd bet people would get upset at "Muslim Power".

    have been historically oppressed

    So have the Jews. What does historical oppression have to do with the present? When "Black Power" came to be, discrimination against blacks was entrenched and pervasive, but it simply isn't the case today. Racial discrimination is blatantly illegal in the US. That's not to say that racism doesn't exits, but I suspect there are more blacks who hate whites for their color than whites who hate blacks. IMO anyone today (not 1965, but now) who espouses either White Power or Black Power is a racist, plain and simple.

    That wasn't the case when there were "whites only" signs, Jim Crow laws, and lynchings, but those are all things of the past.

    Today, classism is far more pervasive than racism, and just as evil. It, unlike racism, is not only accepted but exalted by our mammon-worshiping society.

  • by idontgno (624372) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:20AM (#33735678) Journal

    They're not mutually exclusive; the rhetoric of example "X" above has been used in recent history in support of exactly the same vile and evil racism as example "Y" above.

    "German power! We Germans have been oppressed for too long [wikipedia.org]! Within living memory our ancestors were explicitly legally discriminated against! [wikipedia.org]..."

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