Internet porn surfers everywhere were crying foul last week over Google's decision to change its "SafeSearch" feature to exclude adult content from searches.
Anyone that uses Google to find adult images will likely notice something different when they type in their dirty little specifics: less skin, more filtering. The change isn't that huge, you just have to be a little more specific in what you're looking for. The update to the feature changed the SafeSearch options from "Strict", "Moderate" and "No Filtering" to whether or not to select "Filter explicit content," which seems to correlate to some combination of the old Moderate and Strict settings and filters out most anything that anyone could find objectionable.
Except medical content apparently. A search (research purposes only) for "penis" still yielded results of naked male organs. However, most of them where injured, sickly or replicas made from baked goods - not necessarily sexy. Parents of young children, or those who are really nit-picky about porn in their household can also lock SafeSearch so that no explicit content can ever be seen, even accidentally.
Some Folks Missing Stuff
This seemingly innocent change in the feature has made quite a few reddit users and bloggers pretty upset. The big deal seems to be that there was no mention that this change was coming before it actually happened. Google made the change only to the U.S. site (U.K. site still has the old version of SafeSearch) and went on about its day.
While there still hasn't been an official announcement, ZDNet pointed out that "This default setting, however, does appear to be more reminiscent of the 'Moderate' SafeSearch setting rather than a total overhaul to the system."
You Can Still Find Smut
If this change bugs you beyond belief and don't want to get specific with your Google search engine ICM has some advice. In a press statement, ICM Registry advises searchers to include "XXX" to their inquiry, where the results are expected to be the exact amount of explicit your were expecting to get. The release also includes a plug for its newly launched site, adding: "Of course age appropriate Internet users can best and most quickly find adult content through ICM’s www.search.xxx dedicated porn search engine too, without using the “XXX” trick."
As long as Google doesn't limit our ability to search for the latest "Tard the Grumpy Cat" meme or videos of dogs playing with Christmas ornaments, a few changes to the more-explicit content searches will probably be something most folks can get over.
Besides, other search engines, including Microsoft's Bing, still make it plenty easy to search for porn.