Google updates Image Search algorithm, makes it tougher to find porn

Published Date
13 - Dec - 2012
| Last Updated
13 - Dec - 2012
 
Google updates Image Search algorithm, makes it tougher to find p...

Google has updated its Image Search algorithm in an attempt to make it difficult to browse explicit content through the image results.

The issue was first noted on Reddit when a user pointed out that "as of the past two hours, Google images safesearch is MANDATORY for US IP's." User also linked to a screen shot of an image search for 'b***job', which didn't show pornographic images. When asked if the setting can be changed, the Reddit user responded: "it says you can, but I see no obvious setting choice to do so, like where it had been."

In the Advanced Search section of Google Images, there is a SafeSearch option having two choices: Show most relevant results or filter explicit results.

"We've simplified SafeSearch settings on image search and the new default behaves similarly to what most users had as the default previously ('moderate')," a Google spokeswoman is quoted as saying. "We 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."

If a user wants to find porn only, Google says, it shouldn't be a problem but user has to be more descriptive in his search.

"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," Google said. "The image search settings work the same way as in Web and video search."

Google also responded to allegations that it wanted to censor adult content. CNET quotes a Google rep as saying: "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.”

According to the Internet giant, the change brings Image Search settings in line with other settings for its Web and Video searches. However, it's notable Google has been making efforts to make Internet users' work easier with the web. CNET in its report further says, “The idea behind products like the Knowledge Graph and Google Now is that the company should bring you information with the least amount of effort possible. With its new image search settings, Google has identified one place where it wants users to work a bit harder.”

“It appears as if, even without SafeSearch turned on, users are having to search for much more specific terms to get results that are explicit. Instead of ‘boobs‘, for instance, you can search for ‘nude boobs‘. That search returns nude results, but with a notice that you must disable SafeSearch in order to see them. This is a change from how it worked previously, as it would not show you explicit results at all, though it would attempt to filter the results to deliver non-explicit images that matched your term,” points out The Next Web in its report.