Google censors China porn searches

Google disbled Google Suggest features on Google.cn and made several other changes to block smut

Google engineers have put in place several measures to remove pornography from search results in China, after the government warned the company its filter was too weak.

Google has temporarily disabled the Google Suggest feature on Google.cn and developed an automated system to remove pornographic links from search results, said Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search and the user experience, at a meeting in Taipei.

The company has also redesigned the Google.cn home page to remove the radio buttons that offer language and locale options, Google said in a statement. The rest of the home page remains the same.

"Google has been working to remove pornography from our search results in China, in accordance with our operating license there," the statement says. "This has been a major engineering effort, and we believe we have addressed many of the problems identified by the government."

China last week ordered Google to suspend its foreign Web site search service over the issue.

One search user in Beijing said the measures had made finding porn much more difficult via Google.cn, mainly from obvious search words such as "porn." However, he could still find some obscene material when searching in English and using slang or other less common words. Pornographic Bittorrent download links were also still available through the results.

Google's main English search page at Google.com continued to offer pornographic search results in China.

China's warning to Google last week comes amid a broad crackdown against online smut in the nation that has seen the shutting of thousands of Web sites and the creation of controversial censoring software, Green Dam Youth Escort, that blocks pornographic and politically sensitive content, and is to be installed on all computers sold in China as of the beginning of July.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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