Google wants to help us shave seconds off our searches, but not necessarily if you're looking for something X-rated.
The search engine has recently come under scrutiny for censoring the autocomplete suggestions offered by its Google Instant feature. In order to ensure users wouldn't be shown any "pornography, violence, [or] hate speech," the search engine blacklisted certain terms. Typing in the innocuous term "car rental" will offer up a list of suggested search terms and search results, but the blacklisted terms "bisexual" or "cocaine," for example, will "turn off" Google Instant, so no suggestions or results are displayed (See the strangest terms blacklisted by Google Instant). Of course, you can still search for the blacklisted terms (just type in the query and hit enter), but Google Instant isn't activated.
Now it seems Google may have cleaned up Google Images, as well, weeding out the racier autocomplete suggestions.
Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan pointed out last week that the suggested search terms returned by Google Images were not always G-rated. "Over on Google Images, some of the suggestions that appear as you type are more of the soft-porn variety," Sullivan noted. Typing in "g" returned autocomplete suggestions like "girls breast feeding each other."
But Google Images' X-rated alphabet appears to have been tweaked up in the days since then. In the slideshow below, we've included screenshots of the suggestions offered by Google Images on October 19, versus those displayed on October 25. The ones taken at a later date are far more mundane, with search suggestions like "Zac Efron nasty pictures" or "Shakira no clothes" nowhere to be found.
UPDATE: A Google spokesperson told The Huffington Post: "We take an algorithmic approach to exclude a narrow class of search queries related to pornography, violence and hate speech. This system is neither perfect nor instantaneous, and we continue to make updates and improvements."
Should Google Images have censored its autocomplete suggestions or is the search giant going too far? Weigh in below.