Google Image Search Update: Filter a Bit Too Sensitive?

Dec 3, 2007 - 7:16 am 2 by
Filed Under Google Updates

Both DigitalPoint Forums and WebmasterWorld are reporting Google has updated the Google Image Search index and algorithm over the weekend.

Many people are noticing new images being found in the image search engine. Also some are noticing that Google is more particular about which images they are showing. The SafeSearch filtering tool, which allows you to define how safe you want your results, seems to have been fine tuned a bit also. The three options include:

  • Moderate filtering excludes most explicit images from Google Image Search results but doesn’t filter ordinary web search results. This is your default SafeSearch setting; you’ll receive moderate filtering unless you change it.
  • Strict filtering applies SafeSearch filtering to all your search results (i.e., both image search and ordinary web search).
  • No Filtering, as you’ve probably figured out, turns off SafeSearch filtering completely.

If someone turns this filter on, there are reports that many images are missing from the results that should not be missing. The suspicions are that if a site that isn't "family friendly" is linking to that image, Google will include it in the filtered results. Even if that image is family friendly and even if that image is on a site that is family friendly.

WebmasterWorld administrator, Tedster, tries to offer some type of explanation from Google on this:

Google wants to be extra careful with images (they've recently shown some embarrassing images quite prominently in "universl" search results)

But Tedster still believes this behavior is a bit out of the norm.

Forum discussion at DigitalPoint Forums and WebmasterWorld.


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