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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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  • by larek ( 651733 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:10PM (#42265349)
    The Moderate filter is blocking direct content from Wikipedia.
  • Censorship (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kc67 ( 2789711 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:10PM (#42265351)
    Time to switch search engines.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

      • Re:Censorship (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Razgorov Prikazka ( 1699498 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @06:16PM (#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.
    • What are they censoring?

    • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @07:10PM (#42266709)

      Oh no, a search engine that only shows you what you explicitly search for! Bring out the pitchforks!


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:10PM (#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..

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      But it may backfire. One reason, I believe, that google is successful is that there are useful services given. So unlike other ad brokers, like 2o7, yahoo, etc, they get cookies enables and often login. Safe search is one of these. If you want unfiltered searches, you have to set a cookie.

      OTOH, the value of their services are becoming less compelling. There is little reason why I need to allow sustained cookies, or cookies at all. Given that they have stated they will delete accounts not attached t

  • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya@gmailOOO.com minus threevowels> on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:12PM (#42265371)
    Next feature: If you want explicit results, you have to submit an example image of what you are searching for.
  • Google Image Search: Attractive Dick Van Dyke

    Oh dear god!

  • Because you don't allow them turn off the moderate filtering. Jack Ass.
  • Fading star (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grumpy_old_grandpa ( 2634187 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:14PM (#42265391)
    And with that; the flip of a bit, a mere config setting somewhere deep in the Google hive, their relevance is gone.

    Now, who's up for a new toy: The Porn Search Engine.
  • by tarc ( 2793789 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:16PM (#42265421)
    The Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org) has long been notorious for returning results that one would not expect to find, e.g. a search for "toothbrush" would contain an image of a woman with a toothbrush in her vagina, a search for "skittles" returned a woman pictured with candy placed in strategic locations, and so on. Some of these sorts of things have been cleaned up on an ad hoc basis, but the Commons admins are resistant to making any actual changes as to how images are curated.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:16PM (#42265431)

    Old Search: gay tentacle porn
    New Search: porn, type: gay, variety: tentacle, participants featured: 5, color: full, aspect_ratio: 16:9, results: many

  • Bing (Score:5, Informative)

    by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:18PM (#42265453)
    Bing is a better porn search engine anyway.
    • Because finding porn on the internet is soooo difficult.
    • So, what am I going to see when I search for "creampie"?

    • Bing is a better porn search engine anyway.

      It's a question of looking for porn, it's an arbitrary filter that I don't want on my image searches. Who defines explicit? Do I have to put a "fuck" in every image search to get all possible results? That's idiotic. Almost as bad as having to put double quotes around every search word. God, I despise Bing, but Google is doing everything they can to lose me as a user. And what it the real cause of this? Corporate users at the expense of everyone else. They are really pushing their hosted email/calen

      • It's NOT NOT NOt a question of looking for porn...

      • by Jeng ( 926980 )

        The problem (for some) was that you could search for a relatively tame thing like "wet" or "teen" and the results would be full of explicit pictures.

        I would pass time at work by putting semi-random words in GIS and seeing what would pull up. I was surprised by some of the ones that came up explicit, and surprised even more by some that did not.

  • by Sasayaki ( 1096761 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:21PM (#42265503)
    That was the best part about safe search. "Sorry, we couldn't find what you were looking for. He's a hot chick's tits."
  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:23PM (#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.

  • Epic Fail (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    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 Grimbleton ( 1034446 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:32PM (#42265641)

    This is a search for blowjobs. http://i.imgur.com/R5mjw.jpg [imgur.com] Feel free to click at work, it's work safe. That's the problem. Fisting, rape, etc., all had the same tame results.

  • Good! I think. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jethro ( 14165 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:34PM (#42265689) Homepage

    My first reaction to this was "Oh my GOD its not like we're CHILDREN" and "Oh my GOD more censorship" but frankly on second thought... yeah, I kinda like this. I mean if I want to see naked women I can easily type that into the search field. I just did a couple of image searches that used to be CLUTTERED with Rule 34, and now I can actually find relevant stuff. That's actually a VAST improvement. Better than Safe Search=on used to be, in fact.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      I just did a couple of image searches that used to be CLUTTERED with Rule 34, and now I can actually find relevant stuff. That's actually a VAST improvement. Better than Safe Search=on used to be, in fact.

      Couldn't Google have just made this new searching mode the new "Moderate" then and still left people the option of setting SafeSearch to "Off" and having it behave the way it did before.

      That's the problem with this new method. Supposedly you just have to use more precise search terms to get those explicit results, but "explicit" is a subjective term to start with and now there's now way to simply see ALL the results the spiders find without someone's judgement of where an image belongs.

  • Isn't it kind of expected when the user disables filtering that a search for "tea bagging" will be more focused on nut-jobbery than porn?

    Add a filter option for "make my wee wee hard". Problem solved. No more leaving onanists treading water while they find the magic words to find what they really want.

  • by jago25_98 ( 566531 ) <jago25_98NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:42PM (#42265781) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • download my porn from thepiratebay.

    I don't need to search, i just see what was uploaded since I last checked.

    But I can understand where google is coming from. You have a lot of people using your search engine and unless they specify or go hunting for naked pics, porn pics, etc, there really isn't a need to include them in searches. So they change the defaulting settings. big whoop.

    You can still get the info you want.

    But on a real wtf note, using google to find porn is like asking a known safe cracker

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @06:10PM (#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!

  • It's about time. It has been quite embarrassing when my family and I go online to search for photos of our missing dirt farming friend, Mr. Sanchez.

  • Fixed Google reply: "We are censoring your adult results."

  • Bullshit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I just did a search for rimjob, and there wasn't one explicit result.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982