Google doesn’t want to give us lesbians

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I’m sure you’ve noticed that Google has a new feature: the instant search feature that dynamically returns auto-completed search results as you type. Some words and search strings are considered inappropriate and only appear after you press the “enter” key. One of these words is the word “lesbian.”

Type “les” and the following appears:

Type “lesbian” and the screen goes blank:

Gawker relayed the following about Google’s algorithm:

“The algorithms we use to remove a prediction from autocomplete consider a variety of factors. Among other things, we exclude predictions for queries when the query itself appears to be pornographic, violent or hateful… Importantly, we also consider the search results themselves for given queries. So, if the results for a particular query seem pornographic, our algorithms may remove that query from autocomplete even if the query itself wouldn’t otherwise violate our policies.”

I’ll assume that “lesbian” is objectionable, because many people type in the word to search for porn, but if the word “porn” is already censored, then the exclusion of the word “lesbian” seems redundant and silly.

Let’s see what phrases and words are acceptable to the autocomplete algorithm:

While it’s ixnay on the word “lesbian,” the word “gay” seems to be fine.

Google will also give you several reasons why gay marriage is wrong.

Here are some other strings that are deemed to be more appropriate than the word “lesbian” by Google’s autocomplete algorithm:





Or how about these:


Time to look into tweaking that algorithm. Just sayin’.

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