Since we wrote about the inconsistent standards of censorship applied throughout Google Instant, 2600.com has done the legwork of compiling a master list of terms blacklisted by Google’s results-as-you-type service.
2600.com explains the reason behind the list, which is as much an exercise in showing the potential powers of web censorship as in compiling ‘naughty’ words:
Like everything these days, great care must be taken to ensure that as few people as possible are offended by anything. Google Instant is no exception. Somewhere within Google there exists a master list of “bad words” and evil concepts that Google Instant is programmed to not act upon, lest someone see something offensive in the instant results… even if that’s exactly what they typed into the search bar. We call it Google Blacklist.
Obviously, all you have to do is hit return to get the results like you always could. However, even when your request isn’t blacklisted, you’re not getting the SAME results that you would get by hitting return. Entering “murder” into the search bar gets you suggestions of mostly band names. It’s only after you hit return that you can learn the other sinister meaning of the word. What we have here is a demonstration of how content can be filtered, controlled, and ultimately suppressed. It is indeed a good thing that Google isn’t evil.
Unsurprisingly, most of the blacklisted words and phrases are sexual in nature; however, the extent to which this is interpreted gives some occasionally odd results. For instance: “teen,” “adult,” and “tentacle” are all blacklisted, as are “4chan” and “pedobear.” And there are a few general blocks that seem to be in place so that people don’t put together embarrassing lists of Google Instant suggestions: For instance, “I hate” returns a blank, and even the word “are” has some complicated rules about what can and can’t go after it to trigger a further block.
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