When Google released “Google Instant”–a “search enhancement” that suggests content before you finish typing your Google search words– I thought it was pretty fun to see which suggestions would pop up as I began typing random words. While I was just goofing around, others were seriously testing out “controversial” words like bisexual, lesbian and Latina.
Yup. Apparently some of the words that gave Google Instant a hard time at launch are also often used when searching for porn. And us Latinas are porntastic. Even college professors think we’re too sexy!
All snarking aside, Latina magazine reports that Google has fixed the problem and won’t just blank out on suggestions when you type Latina (in fact, the first suggestion is Latina magazine!). But type in bisexual and you won’t get any suggestions until you hit “enter.”
Google’s explanation was about trying to keep people from getting porn and violent sites as results. Um, ok, I get it. But you’re Google–I think you can figure these things out before launching. Not only that, you know how to get paid links up higher. I think you could figure out how to put porn and violence-related results, say, on the second page?
But we’re talking about Google on all computers–not just computers in schools, libraries or in our children’s rooms. The ones on our desks at work and on the couch at home. And we’re talking about associating an entire group of women (bisexual, lesbian, Latina, etc.) with sex/porn.
Considering the vastness of the list of banned words, I think Google should realize that censoring our searches is our job, not theirs.
I also think we should take this as a brilliant moment to consider what this may foreshadow when it comes to Net Neutrality, Google and the “freedom” we enjoy on the Internet.
Screencap from Google