Where did all the porn go?

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Google has tweaked its algorithm to make porn images harder to find in the US, making SafeSearch the default option for image searches.

Frustrated Reddit readers discovered yesterday that they weren't getting the acres of bare flesh they were used to - and some were unembarrassed enough to complain.

The move, says Google, is intended to make sure that people don't see porn unless they actually want to. Essentially, there's a new default setting equivalent to the previous 'moderate' level - meaning that  if users really do want to see mucky pics, they'll need to be a lot more specific about what they're searching for.

"This change actually doesn’t prevent anyone from getting to the content they want to see," says a Google staffer on a company product forum. "So, if you search for explicit content, you’ll be able to find it - just make sure your query reflects this intent, and Google will show the most relevant content for the search."

Reddit readers are already swapping hints and tips: while 'pussy', for example, now delivers pictures of cats, 'naked pussy', um, doesn't.

Interestingly, the changes don't appear to have been introduced worldwide, and many users are switching to google.co.uk or google.ca. Other alternatives are to use Bing - still merrily offering quantities of porn to anyone that turns off the filter - or even search.xxx, which guarantees to offer only pornographic results.