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.)
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