Google Tweaks Image Searches Making Porn Harder To Find

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(Photo credit LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)

Mountain View, Calif. (CBS SEATTLE) — Google tweaked their image searching function in order to make it more difficult to find pornography and other sexually-explicit photos.

CNET reports the world’s No. 1 search engine made the change to its image search algorithm on Wednesday night in order to make it more difficult to stumble upon such images – especially when conducting a query with its “SafeSearch” setting turned on. But even when turned to “off,” some Google users may still have some images blocked.

Immediately noticing the change, users launched a firestorm in online complaints that forced an explanation by Google that included a defense against allegations of censorship.

“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,” Google said in a statement to CNET.

A pop-up warning also now appears if Google detects that a user is searching for explicit content for the first time.

“We’ve simplified SafeSearch settings on image search and the new default behaves similarly to what most users had as the default previously,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. “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,” she added.

Users previously could select from three levels of search filtration with a “SafeSearch” drop-down menu: “strict” filtering (no explicit content), “moderate” filtering (the default setting), or no filtering.

Now, users are allowed to simply toggle “SafeSearch” on or off, and the setting is turned off by default. Today, flipping on the “SafeSearch” filter will entirely wipe clean any results for search words like ‘porn’ or ‘boobs.’

But some Google users have still expressed their distaste with the change.

“Oh great, now I have to explicitly state what I am looking for, which then gets saved to my search history so I can’t pretend I just stumbled on it,” one Google user told CNET. Many in online forums have expressed their doubts in Google, and said they would consider switching to Bing in order to avoid what they believe is internet censorship.

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