Poll: Should Google Censor Non-Adult Search Suggestions?

Jan 11, 2010 • 8:30 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine
 

Ever since Google suggest became the default at Google.com back in 2008, the search suggestions had led to some controversy. Most recently over religions suggestions such as Christianity or Islam. Plus a month or so back, we had the Climategate controversy. We do know that Google censors out adult search suggestions and I don't think anyone would argue with that.

However, do you think Google should censor out non-adult negative search suggestions? Such as those that appear negative to religious beliefs or make companies look bad. For example, a WebmasterWorld thread is discussing a French ruling which required Google to remove the search suggestions that had the word 'scam' when you entered in a company name. Should those also be censored?

Take my poll:

I for one believe adult content should be censored there, as Google does. But I do not believe Google should remove the others.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

Robert

01/11/2010 02:03 pm

I'm pretty much against censorship of any kind. I'm a firm believer that you start on that slippery slope it puts all else in doubt. Ultimately people should take actions themselves to avoid having unwanted results shown. Possibly an alternative would be for Google to allow folk to download a filter to their machine. Parents should restrict internet usage and so on. If you're afraid of being offended then set one for yourself. But I'm a firm believer it should be a choice.

Eric Baumholder

01/11/2010 03:36 pm

Google search suggestions are a bad idea right out of the box. People who search the 'net should be as completely responsible as possible for the search results they get. The current Google interface is essentially 'Websearch for Dummies', which obviously has its uses. It's time to resurrect Boolean search as an option.

Jae Davis

01/11/2010 06:04 pm

I agree with you, Google should definitely remove adult content suggestions; but they should not removed negative content suggestions. The suggestions are supposed to represent those things that people are searching for, if people have searched for "XYZ Company Scams" in the past, why not let people know that. It doesn't mean that company is a scam. There have been plenty of times where I've searched for "XYZ Company Scam" simply to see if anyone has posted something as a research mechanism before doing business with XYZ Company.

Dave-O

01/13/2010 07:05 pm

Back in December 2009 I became sick of Google's filtering / censorship same thing and have been busy removing Google from my three computers. Let me tell you not a easy task Google implants itself in many different areas, so after removing the obvious stuff I have been working on the registry stuff. Man daunting work and I have switched to AltaVista and it seems to working well. Does anyone have any warnings about AltaVista that I should know about.

Matthew Barich

05/22/2010 01:41 am

Google used to be an unbiased, uncensored search engine. Now, even in the United States, it is censored by default. And if you turn off the censoring, it will turn back on if your browser's cookies are ever lost for any reason. This is RIDICULOUS. I'm an adult, and I don't want my Internet access censored. And no, that's NOT because I want to look at porn. And no, you fucking Google idiots, this is NOT protecting children.

joe

03/06/2011 06:37 pm

I think it's worth noticing that the search suggestions are an entirely unnecessary feature to begin with, and one could argue, somewhat irrelevant. Really, if I want to search for hardcore porn, the lack of a drop-down suggestion for it isn't going to deter me. In fact, if I want to search for anything, all I have to do is type it in and hit "search". Setting aside that the feature is almost a nonfactor, no, I don't think they should censor non-adult suggestions. Anything that has the flavor of a restriction on speech makes me wary. I can't imagine how many companies out there would love to have negative references to their services or products buried so deep in the internet that they'd be almost impossible to find. Furthermore, to go off on another tangent, can we stop being so ridiculously squeamish about anything that can conceivably be LINKED to sex? Sex (note that I did not say pornography) is a perfectly natural human function, and I find it borderline insulting that the search engine blocks the word penis. It may shock many prudish Americans to discover this fact, but many of us in fact possess a penis, just as many of us have arms, fingers, and rear molars. There's nothing shameful or taboo about looking up a part of my anatomy, and I'd much rather have my child adequately informed about what his parts do than rely on schoolyard conjecture to fill in the gaps. Once more, search suggestion censorship will not prohibit this kind of inquiry, but it's a pet peeve of mine.

Anon

06/12/2013 06:18 pm

I came here searching for info on the censorship Google uses (and specifically, if there is any way to circumvent it). I am strongly opposed to all forms of (imposed) censorship, and I think that Google should put all censorship under its 'safesearch' mechanism. That way, it can be turned off at home but left turned on in places where it would be appropriate - e.g. in the workplace or otherwise among the easily offended. I don't mind if it's censored by default, if there's a persistent option to turn that off. I understand that people who are easily offended also tend to complain the loudest, so if Google can spoonfeed them but still let the adults pick up the fork and eat for themselves, then I believe we will have reached a happy compromise. If people think that a company is a scam, and this is reflected in the search results, then it is probably a company I want to avoid - whether it really is a scam, or just has bad customer service! I value the freedom of information, and I think that if somebody wishes to see the 'dark side' of the search results -- that is, a side without the ham-fisted deletion of anything that could possibly be construed as offensive -- then they should really be able to. The USA, UK, and other such countries where people used to laugh at how heavily censored information in China is are now quickly wiping the smirks off those people's faces as companies and governments decide to pander endlessly to people who just keep finding more and more to be offended by. It makes me sick enough to write a late comment on an archived blog.

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