Google Instant Says No to Sex Porn…and Violet Blue?

Google Instant Censors Violet Blue

So, Google Instant launched today, and already folks have noticed that some searches fail to yield the “instant” treatment. Yep, naughty searches get the big “no no” from Google, but then again so do searches for Violet Blue and Tiny Nibbles. So far it doesn’t appear to be a total slight against Violet, as Techyum still triggers Instant. “Violet Blue” produces mostly stuff about the sex educator, and not the porn star who formerly used the same name. Perhaps the SERPs for that and “Tiny Nibbles” both have a few too many mentions of “sex” for teh Google’s liking?

Google Instant Censors Tiny Nibbles

UPDATE: Thanks for the comments so far…I love hearing everyones take on this. A couple points came up in the comments that are worth noting here.

First point: Google doesn’t seem to be at odds with the word “sex” so I updated the title of this post. I’d originally thought “Open Source Sex” was the cause of the blocking of Violet and her site from instant search. Instead, it appears Google Instant is actually taking issue with surfacing results including the word “porn” (or various porn-related searches for that matter). Go ahead, try it out for yourself.

Second point: After posting I kicked myself for not double-checking search settings…did I have “safe search” turned on accidentally? Surely that must be the case! Well, I had safe search set to “Moderate” when I did my initial tests. After switching to “Do not filter my search results” I am happy to report that there is no change. Google Instant still suppresses search results for anything Google deems porn-related. Not good. I have another post brewing about search relevance, Google Instant’s “war on the Enter key,” and content curation. Alas, that will have to wait for a bit as it’s not quite ready to go. Soon.

Lastly, I updated my original post, specifically the sentence regarding the “porn star of the same name” after reading Violet’s correction. How could I forget that whole chapter of history? Apologies for the gaff, Violet. For those who didn’t check out her post yet, here’s what she had to say:

The porn performer who used my name in her performances, Ada Mae Johnson, acknowledged on record in Federal court years ago that she had no right to use my name as her stage name in anything, ever, (or to occasionally dress up like me when she did so). There is no “porn star of the same name.”

Do take a minute to read Violet’s full post over on Tiny Nibbles, and be sure to check out the video she embedded of one of her two tech talks she gave at (drumroll) the Googleplex.

24 thoughts on “Google Instant Says No to Sex Porn…and Violet Blue?

  1. I’m kind of curious how far this instant thing can go… until we can no longer find anything we like at all…

  2. Hmm… in my non-scientific testing, it seems to be okay with the word “sex” for instant searching but not okay with the word “porn”. I hope this isn’t an upcoming trend from Google products/services – after all, Droid’s whole marketing campaign is around “when there’s no limit to what Droid gets, there’s no limit to what Droid does”, which I take as meaning considerably less moral-cock-blocking of content than Apple. Sincerely hoping there’s not a showdown between the 2 companies on who can handicap adult content better.

  3. Agreed. The content war is only heating up, and the company that seemed to have a clear understanding of morality vs. relevance took themselves out of the fight long ago. I’m a little biased, but I’ll address in another post.

    Edit: re: the companies involved in this — I’m referring specifically to content curation and search relevance, so in this case Apple and Google.

  4. “Enter” is still an option, but optimized search experiences like “instant” could produce entirely new behavior patterns. “Instant” is such an interesting method of engaging SERPs that I imagine most people will stop clicking “enter” and take what surfaces in “instant” as the de facto results. So…for a lot of people that blank page that comes up when searching for something like “anal g” while searching for “anal gland expression” will at first appear as though there are no options/results.

    To be fair, Google prompts a stalled typist to “Press Enter to search,” but words are easily ignored, right?

  5. Of course the act of restricting auto-complete is old news, and it would appear that Google Instant is pulling from the auto-complete corpus…but the implications of Google Instant are potentially far more harmful than mere auto-complete. Google Instant could potentially change search behavior, in that people could take the Instant results as a completed search and curb that extra step of hitting enter to land on a SERP.

    Only time will tell.

  6. “people could take the Instant results as a completed search and curb that extra step of hitting enter to land on a SERP

    Could? Of course they will; and there’s reason to suspect the “auto-complete corpus” (love that) is factored into other aspects of Google’s returns.

    The more interesting question is why does Google think doing this is in their best interest; and more broadly, why is the digital world more and more resembling the real world in the way it segregates explicit sexuality from other interests and activities.

  7. Is it really a moral question? Google is not blocking any search, they’re simply stopping porn-related results from appearing when doing a completely unrelated search at work.nnFor me, it’s a good thing.

  8. Is it really a moral question? Google is not blocking any search, they’re simply stopping porn-related results from appearing when doing a completely unrelated search at work.

    For me, it’s a good thing.

  9. “The porn performer who used my name in her performances, Ada Mae
    Johnson, acknowledged on record in Federal court years ago that she had no right to use my name as her stage name in anything, ever, (or to occasionally dress up like me when she did so). There is no “porn star of the same name.””

    Violet Blue also swore in court that she would not spread false rumors about me.  When I had black hair and Betty Bangs, 1998 to 2000 I did not know anything about Violet Blue or her work.  (Googled the name, nothing came up!)  I found out later in 2001 around the time I won Best New Starlet, and I had blond hair and a tan.  Actually it was at the insistence of my agent when I joined up with him in 2000 that I begin transforming myself from a skinny pale goth chick to a blond porn star.  There is simply no reason why I would ever want to look like the author Violet Blue, or dress like her.  I am myself, and always will be. Namaste & 93′s
     

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