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Google's Image Search Now Requires Explicit Queries For Explicit Results 369

Several readers sent word of a change to Google's implementation of SafeSearch for image searches. There used to be three settings: Off, Moderate, and Strict. (You can still see these settings on, for example, Google's UK image search.) Now, for U.S. users they've made Moderate the default, and the only other option is to "Filter Explicit Results." Going into settings provides no way to turn it off. That said, Google still lets users search for explicit content if the search terms they enter are specific to that type of content. A Google rep said, "We are not censoring any adult content, and want to show users exactly what they are looking for — but we aim not to show sexually-explicit results unless a user is specifically searching for them. We use algorithms to select the most relevant results for a given query. If you're looking for adult content, you can find it without having to change the default setting — you just may need to be more explicit in your query if your search terms are potentially ambiguous. The image search settings now work the same way as in Web search."
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Google's Image Search Now Requires Explicit Queries For Explicit Results

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  • Censorship (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kc67 ( 2789711 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:10PM (#42265351)
    Time to switch search engines.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:10PM (#42265355)

    This is quite an interesting approach to social engineering: self incrimination - you'll end up with those searches tagged with your identity. No doubt that will make very juicy bootie for hackers, or to "convince" someone to be nice to Google or whoever buys those specific results.

    And I know what the next malware is going to do now..

  • Re:Oh grow up. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kc67 ( 2789711 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:18PM (#42265459)
    Then take the initative and change your SafeSearch setting before you search. Just because you Google stuff at work and are afraid of your boss (why aren't you working?) doesn't mean the rest of us need or want SafeSearch on.
  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:23PM (#42265533) Journal

    This 'algorithm' will have a lot of false positives, and no doubt will filter out things like images of war. It's censorship and propaganda.

  • Re:Censorship (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:27PM (#42265575) Journal

    What, you don't think your 13 year old is smart enough to find the porn he or she wants? You're not protecting anyone from anything. Your prudery is probably more harmful than the porn you're so afraid of.

  • Epic Fail (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:29PM (#42265603)
    I just did a test search with SafeSearch set not to filter explicit results and compared the same search to Bing. Specificity isn't the issue; the returned results are far inferior to Bing when looking for plain ole nekkidness. I fear Google is going to end up with egg (or something looking like it) on their face over this one.

    I've been a Googler since Yahoo jumped the Shark way back when, but I'm looking over the fence at the greener grass and thinking I may finally have to move on.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:29PM (#42265609)

    Bullshit. You can still search for whatever you want, you just need to specify that yes you really do want THOSE kind of images. I think this is a good thing. It shouldn't be easy to end up with porn in your search results by accident.

  • Re:Censorship (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:41PM (#42265771) Homepage

    What, you don't think your 13 year old is smart enough to find the porn he or she wants? You're not protecting anyone from anything. Your prudery is probably more harmful than the porn you're so afraid of.

    So let's say you're helping your 13 year old with two of their friends of a similar age on a group homework project.

    You're at the computer with them, looking for an image to use via google image search. Thanks to the lack of filtering you endorse, your search for anatomical images for their science project is also interspersed with some images that have a slightly different educational function.

    The other kids then report to their parents that you showed them porn on your computer. Next thing you know you're being visited by the police who seize your computer, laptop and iPad. Next, child services have taken away your kids. Your name is muck, you lose your job as a result of the press attention and you need to remortgage the house to clear the whole mess up.

  • Let's face it, this is not an isolated case of reduced advanced features with Google.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    We also don't have:

    - booleen search of even a basic level
    - or ability to priortise each search term
    - ability for phrase search: Results for separate terms will also be displayed. Some results contain none of the words in the phrase you searched for (They don't look like adverts either - I don't understand)

    Yet there's the patent on PageRank so the competition is rubbish?

    Operators are useful:
    http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators.html [googleguide.com]
    but those more advanced abilities don't seem to mesh so well with the automagic aspect of Google.

    The reason we all started using Google in the first place was that we found it was the only way we could find things without all the spam. We were able to find the results we were looking for.
    Google is catering better to beginners and that is good. This is a good example of that.
    Unfortunately it seems the core demographic of the nerd who knows what they are doing is being misserved. Also I think, possibly a bit sidetracked from the core ability of Google as a search company. Sidetracked?

    What is the alternative? I use DuckDuckGo regularly but often fall back to Google. I think the edge there could be PageRank and manual result checking.

    Any stock investors out there? Is a company sidetracked from it's core abilities often a sign of a company about to take a plunge? I've seen it before but Amazon did well.

  • Re:Censorship (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:44PM (#42265803)

    When you are helping those kids, you set your search image preference to strict filtering.

    Better idea would be to stop doing the homework for your kids.

    What people are opposing is not that it exists, but that there is now nothing lower than moderate.

  • Re:Censorship (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:48PM (#42265845)

    It's a sad day when I have to switch to bing.

  • Re:Censorship (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Achra ( 846023 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:48PM (#42265855) Journal

    Better idea would be to stop doing the homework with your kids.

    There, fixed that for you. You can always tell the people who don't have kids but assume that they're experts in parenting.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:52PM (#42265905) Homepage
    What's your point? There are plenty of images on Wikipedia whose relevance to their articles I can fully appreciate, but which I wouldn't want popping up on an image search at work.
  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:10PM (#42266125)

    The search "Sexy hot women"
    Settings is as open as possible
    Site : images.google.com : 481.000 results
    Site : images.google.co.uk : 2.050.000 results
    Setting to moderated gives 483.000 results.
    Strict gives 124.000 results, just like the

    Looking at several other countries, it looks as if only the US site is looking after the well-being of the kids for now. All show 2.050.000.

    It is nice to see that they are not censoring any content. They are just not showing it, which is completely different. They just call it moderated. And as they do not call it censorship, but moderation, it must be that, tight?

    So who will do a Larry Flynt and stand up to this? I bet most people will think it isn't censorship, because it isn't done by government. Think again: Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body. It can be done by governments and private organizations or by individuals who engage in self-censorship [wikipedia.org].

    First they came for my porn ...
    And even if you do not care for porn, you should always be against censorship. Always!

  • Re:Censorship (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Razgorov Prikazka ( 1699498 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:16PM (#42266199)
    There is more than Bing y'know? I would actually warm-heartedly endorse ixquick. I use it for about two years now, and it is getting better and better in giving the results I am looking for.
    Also you might want to take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_search_engines
    To stay a bit more on-topic... If my 7 year old daughter would ask me what 'blow-job' means Ill tell her. (oh and ask where she got that word from) It is called "education", just like "why is the sky blue" and "do I get hairy legs like mama too"? I think that overprotection is a bad thing. Whether it is sex, violence or anything else, it is part of life. Suck. It. Up.
  • Re:Censorship (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:17PM (#42266201) Journal

    Censorship is not parenting. Censorship is the abdication of parenting. Your job is to equip the kid to deal with an ugly world, not to shield him from it.

    And yes, I don't believe that seeing goatse actually harms anyone of any age, gender, sexual preference, or religion in any significant way. Momentary disgust will not scar your child for life.

  • Re:Oh grow up. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cloudmaster ( 10662 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @11:37PM (#42269345) Homepage Journal

    Damn it, that takes away my plausible deniability. :)

  • Re:Relieved (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @12:06AM (#42269469)
    Google has been systematically destroying all of their services with "improvements". First the Gmail changes that slowed it to a fucking crawl, then the ugly YouTube changes that took away all ability to customize, then the Google Play changes that pop up spam every single time you download something, then they took away the ability to Google image search by image resolution, then the most recent YouTube changes that present more unwanted spam on a hideous new interface and now this.

    Google needs to get their ass in gear or they can go fuck themselves. Nobody will be using their services.

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