Sunday, January 24, 2010

Google's 'Islam is' problem

Hot story brewing in the blogosphere about what happens when you type "Islam is" into your Google search window.

Nothing happens - which is exactly the story.

Type in "Christianity is" - or other religions followed by "is" - and a host of often derisive words show up underneath to complete that sentence. The "Islam is" query prompts no suggestions at all.

Google says a bug is to blame and it's working on it.

Google Suggest is supposed to offer searches similar to the one you're typing. (For instance, type "a" and you get "amazon, aol, american airlines, and so on.)

The company acknowledges filtering out "suggestions that include pornographic terms, dirty words, and hate and violence terms."

But the glitch doesn't happen with other top search engines yahoo and bing - and bloggers have all kinds of theories about why Google won't let anything potentially offensive show up about Islam.

The timing is interesting, because Google recently released this statement threatening to shut down service in China because it is no longer willing to censor results there. The Great Firewall of China does not allow references to Tiananmen Square or those backing independence for Tibet and Tiawan, among others.

Try these searches for more fun:

  • Type in "Pat Bu" and you get a whole lot of things except "Pat Buchanan," even though a regular Google search shows he gets more hits than the others.
  • Try "Bilderberg," and - nothing in the suggested search area. (Adds intrigue that the Bilderberg Group is a private, secretive club of the world's most powerful people.)
Both work on yahoo and bing, by the way.

Is it a bug, self-censorship, or something in-between?

Whatever the answer, questions of transparency seem relevant for the world's largest search engine.

- Doug Miller

36 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Islam is...opression, violence and terrorism.

Anonymous said...

Islam is trying to kill you

Jumper said...

Baloney. The story isn't true.

NCIslam said...

Islam is the truth that Christianity and Judaism pretend to be. Allāhu Akbar.

Anonymous said...

...not terrorism, violence, or oppession. Those things are reflected in those who pervert the religion....and those who pervert Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Works just fine now.
Thanks for the alarmism.

Anonymous said...

NCIslam said...
Islam is the truth that Christianity and Judaism pretend to be. Allāhu Akbar

What a joke. Let me guess, you converted in prison?

Anonymous said...

Try it folks, it is true...

Anonymous said...

Who gives a crap? Is this supposed to be some kind of conspiracy? Give me a break. This article is for the PC idiots out there.

peregrino said...

"Christianity is" doesn't work on Bing. "Hinduism is" doesn't work on Yahoo. Looks glitchish to me.

Anonymous said...

Islam is the religion of peace...as long as no other religions are being observed in your country.

Anonymous said...

Islam is more of a political system
than a religion.

Anonymous said...

Islam is being practiced in the Oval Office.

Anonymous said...

Islam is my enemy.

Anonymous said...

Why is this a "problem?" Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Islam is lame

Sam Vimes said...

So how did I get a return with 97 million hits?

And I have to say, what's with all you slogan commentors here? Can no one string a sentence together with more than 4 or 5 words?

harris said...

islam is closer to Christianity than some of you small minded bigots think.

Anonymous said...

harris said...
islam is closer to Christianity than some of you small minded bigots think.

I agree. So why have YOU BIGOTS declared war on Christians and Jews?

Anonymous said...

Islam is False.....The World is Learning The Truth....Soon All Countries will be DEPORTING all Islamic followers....and their Cancer.

Anonymous said...

Islam is the reason Marines are called "Leathernecks". When Jefferson sent the Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates(Islamic Extremists), the Marines discovered that the barbary Pirates(Islamic Extremists) liked to cut the heads off of their captives. For that reason, the Marines wore a leather strap on their necks, which gave them the name "Leathernecks". As you can see, not much has changed today.

Anonymous said...

@sam
the issue is when you type in the initial query. Not what is returned. If you start typing Islam is, the auto suggestion feature in the search engine should start to return responses. So go to the Google home page and start typing christianity is and you will see a list of 'suggestions' that you can click on. Then go clear the box and start typing Islam is, you will not get any 'suggestions'. I doubt this is a bug, but rather a way for Google to insulate itself from friction from the peaceful Islamisists of the world. You will notice that the first thing that you see when you type Christianity is..., is 'Christianity is BS'. Now i find that offensive but i am not going to burn down Google, but they are afraid that if "islam is BS" shows up someone will burn their HQ down. So in essence, they are censoring themselves and are being hypocritical when they complain to China that they are censoring their search engine.

Anonymous said...

Islam is something we'd be better off without.

The sooner our so-called leaders realize you cannot negotiate with the insane and wipe Mecca of the face of the planet, the better.

Google should be ashamed of themselves for kowtowing to the so-called "Religion of Peace".

Larry said...

Anonymous said: Why is this a "problem?" Am I missing something?
January 24, 2010 5:22 PM

From the movie Brazil: "I assure you, Mrs. Buttle, the Ministry is very scrupulous about following up and eradicating any error. If you have any complaints which you'd like to make, I'd be more than happy to send you the appropriate forms."
______________________________
Back to my point:

You type in your name and is and google suggests you are a child molester, or even worse you need information on a subject that you need good information on, say tax deductions you need, and it does not even show up in their results.

Is this a problem?

No of course it is not as you can go to another site who might be just as limiting in their policing of what they want you to know.

Just like the Observer has its bents so do web searches. But at least this is a chance for us to see the more obvious ones and hopefully make it honest in some small way.

harris said...

harris said...
islam is closer to Christianity than some of you small minded bigots think.

I agree. So why have YOU BIGOTS declared war on Christians and Jews?

first of all i am not Islamic. it all comes down to radicals, and they are in every religion.

Anonymous said...

Islam is....as misguided and silly as every other "invisible man in the sky" superstition.

Anonymous said...

No comments about possible censorship by the worlds most popular search engine??

I should be surprised, but sadly I'm not.

Anonymous said...

How is that censorship? You could find islam is ....anything... all you have to do is type it in. I agree that google may be trying to cover themselves from people overreacting to what may pop up immediately, so what? Also, before you bash Islam take a nice look in the mirror...anon 7:39 pm has it right.

Justshutup said...

Islam is as violent and hypocritical as all of the other organized religions. You all spend your precious good will on killing others who don't believe your particular brand is the only one.

Anonymous said...

Harris, "close" only counts in horseshoes. Islamists do not recognise the divinity of Christ. We do.

Headlines you will never see:

"Norwegian Lutheran tries to set off bomb vest in crowd."

Anonymous said...

Google, when you said your motto is "Don't be evil.", this is an example of being evil.

harris said...

did that happen to be outside of an abortion clinic? I think i did see that one on the news some years back.

Anonymous said...

I don't blame Google. It's no bug. We live in a world that if you say anything about Islam, these Muslims will go jihad on your ass.

Anonymous said...

Islam...Planes into buildings.

Islam...Bombs into crowds..

Islam..it down everyone's throats...more than other faiths...

Islamabad...religion

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