Good News, Lesbians — Google Instant May Soon Suggest You!

As you know, Google won’t show certain search results in Google Instant for search results that seem pornographic, violent or hateful. The includes the word “lesbian,” even though few would consider it to be pornographic on its own.

I reported this morning at the Search Engine Roundtable that Google said they will try to fix lesbian so that search results show up in Google Instant as you type that into the search box:

Lesbian on Google Instant

Kelly from Google said this in a thread, lesbian not showing search results as you type in Google Instant “is a bug and we are working to see if we can fix it,” Google said.

But really, can Google fix it? I am not too sure. If you look at the results for a search on [lesbians], you will find 3 of the first 5 results all link to pornographic sites.

Lesbians on Google

Even though the term “lesbians” is not pornographic by definition, the search results, at least 60% of the first five search results are. I don’t see how Google would show pornographic search results in Google Instant without manually changing the search results or at least changing the ranking algorithm in Google Instant not to show any pornographic web sites when using Google Instant.

I should note that searching for [lesbian] in singular tense does not show pornographic web sites in the top search results. Only the plural tense shows these sites.

For more on the topic of Google Instant and its filtering of certain words, see our detailed story, The Five Words You Can Never Suggest On Google Instant.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Instant | Google: Suggest | Google: Web Search | Top News


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • kgamache

    Can’t this be solved by defaulting all searches to “safe search” and thus these “offensive” terms that have a large population of porn should be able to be filtered out to have only those relevant non-porn results come up. I guess the porn groups would try to game that system and screw with those results. Regardless it should be not a huge daunting task. Obviously it is more complex than my suggestions but it seems like that there are existing options to return accurate results.

  • aixtal

    Google does not filter only pornographic queries, but also queries that might be offensive to some groups. Unfortunately it is likely many queries starting with “lesbians” very often are. The same with “jews”, “black”, etc. for which you do not get any suggestions on Therefore, I do not think that this is a “bug”.

    I juste wrote a post about the French version where the filtering job is less thorough, and people get suggestions like “Jews are stingy”, “Blacks strink”, and so on.


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