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Google Instant Censors Sex Writers But Allows Slurs

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Clipped from: www.2600.com (share this clip)

As soon as Google launched its new search feature, Google Instant, people started noticing that some words just wouldn't get suggestions. A quick test showed that Google acknowledges gay people, but neither lesbians nor bisexuals. (On the latter point, Google is much like many so-called LGBT organizations.)

Hacker site 2600.com is working to compile a much more detailed view of what's kosher and what's not in the view of Google Instant. It's a strange list; not only do classic obscenities that you can't say on television wind up on the blacklist, but merely being a journalist or other writer who focuses on sexuality will get you there. Writers on Google Instant's blacklist include Carol Queen, Violet Blue, and Shanna Katz. To be fair, the blacklist also includes Philip Kindred Dick, although Google Instant does recognize Philip K Dick. Paris Hilton is also blacklisted according to 2600, which we can somewhat sympathize with. Our own test shows that Marty Klein is not on the blacklist.

Other words and phrases that 2600 has confirmed as being on the blacklist include

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• NaKed ("Naked Lunch", "Naked Chef", "Naked Brothers Band", all blacklisted)
• NegrO (hardly accepted universally as an offensive word)
• NeonaZi (but not "Nazi" or "Fascist" or "Ku Klux Klan")
• NigGa (entering more letters removes the blacklist which is a rarity)
• NigGer
• NuDe (it's really not THAT bad a word)
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• PorN (it's only the reason the entire net was created and yet it's blacklisted here)
• PusSy (Google has a thing about cats apparently)
• RapE ("rape hotline" is hereby considered offensive)
• RectuM (again, that entire area of the body seems to be off limits)
• Rusty tRombone (we're impressed - someone is really doing their homework) [thanks excitor]
• RimjOb (some people really are still referring to cars when they say this) RimmIng [thanks nic]

(Note: The capital letters in the middle of the words indicate the point where Google Instant stops showing suggestions.)

But even more curious that what's on the blacklist is what's not on the blacklist. Even though several of our writers are blacklisted, CarnalNation itself isn't. In fact, if you type "Carnal," you get "carnalnation.com" as a suggestion:

While serious writers like Carol Queen, Violet Blue, and Shanna Katz are summarily tossed down the memory hole because Google's overlords consider them unsuitable for polite company, here's a sampling of words that Google Instant does consider appropriate:

 

  • Dyke (But again remember: no lesbians.)
  • Excrement
  • Fag
  • Labia
  • Piss
  • Prostitute
  • Pubic
  • Skank
  • Sperm
  • Vulva
  • Whore
  • Wop

The page on 2600.com has more, and it's probably worth your while to check in for updates. Frankly, the consensus in the CarnalNation offices seems to be that Google Instant is one of the most useless features that Google has introduced in a long time; most of us turned it off on the very first day. The sheer incompetence of their censorship attempts only confirms that assessment.

If you want to help expand the list, send blacklisted terms to blacklist@2600.com.

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