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Censorship Google

Seven Words You Can't Say On Google Instant 257

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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  • From the article (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:12AM (#33732152)

    white Power (but not "Black Power" - it's all in the marketing, after all)

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

    by stimpleton ( 732392 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:27AM (#33732210)
    I read the list. I was expecting words that usually mean something everyday but have broadened to include potential offensive material. Amateur for example.

    What surprises me is the list includes words where the definition would have to be known, and the person consciously wants to find the subject matter. a2m for example.

    But its broader. A few choice ones on the list: fecal(legitmate medical/anotomical usage), lesBian, and finally, redtube gets the censor treatment.

    I like the comment next to "cucold" - this one dates back to 1250, but it dies here.

    And google has the gaul to climb on a soap box about censorship, the great wall filters of Australia etc.
  • Re:I'm surprised. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jimthehorsegod ( 1210220 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:45AM (#33732304)

    is it censorship when they still allow you to search the terms?

    Yes, in some cases - FTFA:

    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.

  • Filter on results (Score:5, Interesting)

    by golden age villain ( 1607173 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:47AM (#33732322)
    Could it be that this system blacklists the words based on the content to be displayed and not based on the input itself?
  • Re:I'm surprised. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pitchpipe ( 708843 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:15AM (#33732432)

    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)?

    I actually played around with this. If you pause, whatever google instant is suggesting that you search for becomes part of your browser history. So yeah, that could be a problem, especially at work.

  • Re:Filter on results (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:21AM (#33732464) Journal

    Blocking "amateur" is interesting. The first page of Google results I get for the word doesn't include anything remotely NSFW -- but the related searches list is almost entirely related to amateur porn. I wonder if that's what's triggering the block.

    I certainly can't believe that Google would go with a static blacklist this complicated.

  • Re:Fair enough (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elewton ( 1743958 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:55AM (#33732592)
    It's just too unpredictable.
    The above-mention "a2m" could easily be a part of a serial code I'm entering, and I appreciate google's assuming that, if I want potentially embarrassing content, I can be bothered to press enter.

    I also don't want to become sexually aroused during work, and appreciate this rare display of understanding of human nature.

  • Re:hmmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sam_handelman ( 519767 ) <> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:58AM (#33732606) Homepage Journal
    I doubt the second - very processor intensive.

      However, I propose a third option, that the blacklist is automatically maintained.

      That is, they classify web-pages: offensive, Y/N? And then their index automatically tags terms strongly associated with offensive web-pages, which are automatically blacklisted. This is how you'd get "white power" (present on many offensive webpages), but not "black power" (present mainly in scholarly articles, let's be blunt). This is why you'd get "futanari" and not "hermaphrodite", this is why "schoolgirl" is offensive, etc.
  • by SimonInOz ( 579741 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @07:48AM (#33732792)

    Some years ago, I wrote an Internet chat system for a major Australian bank (which bank? No comment). Ok, innovative enough at the time, but not too exciting.

    But here's the interesting bit - they sent me a list of words they considered offensive. I had to write a special scanner to handle this - the most challenging part being dick. I was supposed to reject "dick", but accept "dick smith" [which is a major Australia techie shop, equivalent to Tandy or Radio Shack, perhaps] .

    So anyway, I was left in possession of a list of words banks don't like. Maybe I should publish it.

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

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @08:08AM (#33732916) Journal

    As long as they kept it in their pants until marriage, sex was considered a Gift From God.

    I bet if you asked the Puritan's wives, you'd get a different story.

    Anyway, C.S. Lewis is not known for truth-telling so much as comforting fairy tales, and yes I'm referring to his non-fiction essays.

  • Re:From the article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) <> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @10:24AM (#33734138)

    If I type in "I hate cheeseburgers", it doesn't show me the results. Yet when I press enter all the results are completely benign. Even if I cut it off at "I hate", the results are still rather safe.

    If they are really doing as you say, then their algorithm for determining "naughty" things is more wacked than my mothers.

  • Re:From the article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by darthdavid ( 835069 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:17AM (#33734742) Homepage Journal

    See if you can spot the difference...

    X Power! We Xs have been oppressed for too long! Within living memory our ancestors were explicitly legally discriminated against. Their grandparents were held a slaves. Even today we make up a disproportionate percentage of the prison population, face gaps in education, employment and wages and suffer numerous minor acts of discrimination on a daily basis. We must keep fighting until we have equality!

    Y Power! We Ys are the master race! Those dumb fucking Xs should go back to their rightful place as our slaves. If we have to kill a couple of 'em to make it happen, well you have to break a couple of eggs if you're making an omlette. And if they've tasted too much freedom to get back under the yoke where they belong? Well I guess they'll all just have to fucking die. Not like they're proper humans anyway, untermensch that they are...

    Now tell me again, why you think these are the same thing? (In case you're especially dense, we're talking fucking iridium here, just because a statement is racist in one context doesn't mean it's racist in every context. If a minority group is being discriminated against they pretty much need to pull together and make their voices heard to make that discrimination stop. It's like the difference between pulling a gun on someone to mug them and pulling a gun on the guy who's trying to mug you. In an ideal world no one would need point a weapon at anyone else (or call on people by their racial affiliation) but when people seek to do you harm sometimes unfortunate measures need to be taken.)

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.