pink ghetto

Elizabeth's picture

Instant Censorship, Google Style

censorship [remix]

Google just launched a new search technology that speeds up the already mindbogglingly fast process by which you can find information online. I read about it in the New York Times this morning. It launched yesterday and it's called Google Instant. It works like this: as you type your search string Google begins finding results and displaying them before you hit "search." The list changes as you continue typing. If you begin to type "censorship" for example, by the time you type "CEN" you get search results for Central Park. Type the "S" and you get results for Census. Type the "O" and you get censorship-related results. This all happens at the speed of typing. Fascinating. I was wondering whether I thought this was distracting or helpful when I read something that really pissed me off: 

Some words, like “nude,” produce no results because Google Instant filters for violence, hate and pornography, the company said.

I don't think that automatic filtering for "violence, hate or pornography" makes sense in the first place - users should be able to control their own filtering - but I certainly don't think that "nude" should be filtered because of a possible connection to pornography. I wondered what this looked like in practice, and I also wondered what else was filtered.

I went to my computer to try it out. I started typing.

N (Netflix) NU (Nurse Jackie) NUD (...nothing at all!)

Elizabeth's picture

One New Year's Resolution!

You may have noticed that my contributions to the square have been a bit sparse since September. What's up with that? For one thing, I finished my first semester back in the classroom (what an adjustment!), spent two separate weekends at union conferences (union work being another of my passions), and just got back from a trip to Georgia to see family.

So, one New Year's Resolution: To get better at combining blogging with my other work, and next semester a lot of my other work is related to this site, so I'm feeling pretty optimistic!

What's up for next semester? Well, for one thing I'll be teaching a course in Sociology of Gender, being offered for the first time at NCC. That's very exciting, and one way that I plan to integrate some of my blogging and some of my teaching. In addition, I'll be speaking at a bunch of conferences about stuff we discuss here. (If you're local to any of them, drop by!) Here's where I'll be:

Elizabeth's picture

Pink Ghetto Blasters -- A new sort of superhero or a SXSW Panel?

That depends: It will only be a SXSW panel if enough people vote for it, so head over to our SXSW panel picker page and vote! (You'll need to register there to vote, but I promise you it isn't a terrible process, and it's not like you'll have to remember the password for long!)

SXSW (which stands for South By Southwest) is a week-long annual music, film and "emerging technologies" festival that takes place in Austin, TX. The SXSW Interactive festival focuses on the emerging technologies part.

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