11 responses

  1. Filepromptguy
    March 22, 2008

    Racist or just a bug in the google code?

    more like a bug to me

  2. Antonio Cangiano
    March 22, 2008

    @Filepromptguy: it’s extremely unlikely that it’s a bug. It used to work just as it did for all the other groups and then suddenly stopped working only for one of them. The fact that “blacks” without the word “are” doesn’t prompt anything either gives away that it’s highly likely been intentionally blocked. Anyway, it’s an oddity I wanted to point out, but it’s not a big deal. :)

  3. friism
    March 22, 2008

    The racial/religious nastiness is not new and Google provides an explanation:

  4. Antonio Cangiano
    March 22, 2008

    @friism: I’m aware of their official explanation as to why nastiness ends up in search suggestions. Their message makes perfect sense. However, there is a clear lack of intervention when it comes to those words associated with pretty much all the major religious beliefs, nationalities, and ethnicities except for the one I described.

  5. mind
    March 23, 2008

    “<various racial slurs> are” shows nothing as well. i’m sure there’s just a list of words somewhere that autocomplete is disabled for. ‘blacks’ must be on this list, while ‘whites’ is not. you’d think they would add all of the non-offensive terms because they can become offensive based on context.

    then again, fuck people getting offended. (i feel dirty after talking about programmatic ways to keep people from seeing certain words)

  6. Antonio Cangiano
    March 23, 2008

    @mind: yes, they most likely have a list in which they added “blacks” (and racial slurs) but not “jews” or people from different ethnicities. It would be nicer to implement a better filter that blacklists other racist/sexist offensive suggestions, but it’s nothing vital (it wouldn’t be censorship or anything like that, given that the results would be there, but not the autocomplete). On the other hand, having no blacklist at all and just allow the automated system to give suggestions would be acceptable too, if specified in Google’s policy. As I said, I wanted to point this out but I don’t think it’s a big deal at all.

  7. T.
    March 23, 2008

    Garbage in garbage out.
    It is not a bug, it is a problem with the input data.

  8. User
    March 23, 2008

    Of course, this word-based blacklisting suffers from the usual problem of distinguishing the racial slur from other phrases that happen to contain a homonym. Looks like Google won’t be giving me any contextual suggestions about popular searches on the New Zealand national rugby team!

  9. JR
    March 26, 2008

    Have you seen this? Pretty hilarious if you ask me. http://www.blahblahfish.com

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