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Google Search changes make porn harder to find

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Starting today, it may take more than one hand to find dirty pictures on Google Images.

The Internet, the favorite delivery system of pornographic content in the 21st century, erupted on Wednesday with talk of Google’s changes to the way it allows users to search for adult images.

According to CNET.com, which broke the story, the changes to the Google Image search algorithm will require users to be more precise in their queries if they are looking for explicit sexual content. Simply typing in the word “boobs,” for instance, will no longer bring up any bare breasts. One would have to type in something more specific - such as adding the word naked or porn to the original search term - and then be faced with a pop-up window alerting them to Google’s new filter options before continuing to the more obscene images.

In a statement to The Daily Dot, a Google representative emphasised that the changes were in no way a move toward censorship:

"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. 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 simplified image search settings work the same way as in web and video search."

The content is still readily available, but essentially, Google’s aim is to make it less likely that searching for an innocuous word with a second euphemistic meaning will yield objectionable content for those who do not seek it.

As one might expect, the change generated plenty of reaction online. After all, the notion of the Internet being primarily a smut delivery vehicle is so pervasive that it’s already been the subject of Tony-Award-winning show tunes.

“Google’s making it harder to find porn on the Internet. I guess they’re probably opening champagne at the Bing Offices,” wrote Twitter user @willia4 on Wednesday.

His was a common refrain from those who feel the popularity of internet pornography is no secret. Many were predicting the change would be a boon for rival search engines, including those that specialize in .xxx searches. However, some experts figure that the number of overall adult websites among the internet’s most trafficked destinations could be as surprisingly low as 4 percent.

The news was greeted more positively by users tired of unwanted porn popping in their searches.

“Yay now harder for random porn to show up on image searches,” said @Murphyverse on Twitter.

Photo by Ian Muttoo/Flickr