Google Now Allowing Searches For Sex On Strict SafeSearch

Feb 24, 2012 • 8:10 am | comments (8) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Recently, Google stopped blocking the search terms [sex] and [nudity] in Google Image search when the SafeSearch filter is set to the strict setting. In the past, if you searched for those terms with strict SafeSearch on, Google would return a response that read "The word "sex" has been filtered from the search because Google SafeSearch is active."

But now it returns results for those words. Here are pictures:

It still blocks the term [porn]:

SafeSearch Sex Allowed

But it does not block the term [sex]:

SafeSearch Sex Allowed

The internet provider for the schools said he supplies internet for 15,000 students and this is a major issue. He added:

We utilize Strict Safe Search Enforcement for our Consortium of Schools, which prevents a user from turning off Strict Safe Search. This works fine, however, just recently Google is now retuning image results that normally would have produced a warning screen that the results were filtered and that safe search settings would need to be changed in order to view. I assume this a 'keyword' list. My example is the search for 'nudity' or 'sex'. Sorry to bring up the 'B' word, but Bing and Yahoo both provide the warning page. Google now displays many images that are not desirable for our schools. What happened, and why the change?

Google has yet to reply to his concern, but I hope they now see it. (see below for an update)

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

Google sent me a statement:

We consistently fine-tune our algorithms to detect and remove adult content out of SafeSearch restricted search results. And to help ensure that our results remain clean, Google sometimes will take an additional step and filter out offending terms from a query. That said, if objectionable content does appear for any search query, please report the offensive image by using the 'Report offensive images' feature you can find in the SafeSearch dropdown at the top of the page. For more information on filtering search results for schools, please see this help article.

Google claims they haven't made any changes to this behavior and thus the information provided by the school official is likely inaccurate. Meaning, Google always showed pictures for the term sex and nudity even with the strict filter on.

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