Google To Fix Lesbians & Explains Why Instant Results Are Omitted

Sep 15, 2010 • 9:07 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google Instant added more advanced search completion and prediction to the Google interface. But when it launched, many asked why certain predictions and completions were not coming up. Google Instant shows search results as you type, but not for lesbian and other terms like bisexual.

One such example is typing in [lesbian], when you enter 'leb' the suggestions stop coming up. Entering the whole word doesn't even render results, you have to hit enter:

Lesbian on Google Instant

Google recently said in a Google Web Search Help thread that the lesbian example is a bug and Google will fix it. Kelly from Google said:

We've received some questions about why typing [lesbian] into the search box does not instantly show results. This is a bug and we are working to see if we can fix it. In the meantime, these results are available but require you to hit Enter.

She then goes on to explain why other results may not show search results:

If the results for a particular query seem pornographic, our algorithms may remove that query from autocomplete even if the query itself wouldn't otherwise violate our policies. This system is neither perfect nor instantaneous, and we will continue to work to make it better.

Kelly links to a document on how Google Instant works for additional information.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

Update: Seconds after writing this I wondered how Google could "fix" it to show search results for the term [lesbians] when the search leads to pornographic web sites. I decided to blog this question at Search Engine Land.

Previous story: Google News Search Bug or Feature?


Jean Véronis

09/15/2010 05:41 pm

See the French version: "Jews are stingy', 'Blacks stinks', and so on. Post on this topic: <a href=""></a>

Amy Teeple

09/15/2010 08:36 pm

Although I was one of the complainers on this topic when it was first brought to light, I was willing to give Google a chance to fix the glitch - well, after I was reminded that the new system was JUST rolled out. I am happy to hear that they are working on the glitch. I read your Search Engine Land post and I understand the problem with the porn results. However, I have to agree with a commenter on that post - couldn't that be a simple fix to have the safe search feature on for ALL queries in Instant? If they are not going to show those results in Instant anyway, why can't the safe feature be used for shown-while-typing results, maybe with an option to override it - in case you ARE looking for something explicit. Or you can just type a term like "lesbian porn" and have to hit enter to see the results (since I am guessing most of those results would NOT pass through the safe search filter). As with many marginalized groups in society, the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community is tired of feeling like some people are trying to hide us and/or pretend we are not an acceptable (or equal) part of society. Being hidden from Google Instant just adds to that feeling. Thanks for the update on Google's desire to fix the glitch. I will be interested to see the outcome and I am trying to be patient. :-)

Kenneth Forrest

09/16/2010 02:32 am

This is an interesting topic. I can't wait what would be the answer from google is. Nice Post!

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