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Google image search, now with way less porn

Google hides NSFW images

It is now a lot more difficult to find images of porn through Google’s image search. The company has tweaked its SafeSearch settings for images to better match those of traditional Web searches. Which apparently means hiding a whole lot of naughty bits.

Until yesterday, Google set its SafeSearch filter to “moderate” by default. This hid most images of nudity, but some still would slip through the cracks now and then. If you were on a quest to find pornographic (or “artistic,” if you want to lie about it) images, then you could set the SafeSearch filter to “off.” If “moderate” was still too racy for you (or your kids), then you could change the filter to “strict,” which hid anything even remotely controversial.

Turning SafeSearch off is now not an option. Moderate is gone, too. In their place, Google has made is so that any search that is not specifically for NSFW content will turn up results that feature far more clothing. For example, if you search for “boobs” – something I’m certain none of you have ever done – no longer will you get the blast of flesh anywhere in the results. If that’s still not safe-for-work enough for you, it’s still possible to turn on strict filtering.

This does not mean it’s impossible to find pictures of naked people or pornography through Google image search. You just have to let Google know that porn is what you’re looking for. So rather than just searching “boobs,” you now have to search “naked boobs” or “topless boobs” or “boobs porn,” or… ok, you get the point. Do this, and you will then be given the following warning before you can see said boobs:

Google NSFW test

Google, of course, is advertising the change as a good thing for all of us. “If you’re looking for adult content, you can find it without having to change the default setting – you just may need to be more explicit in your query if your search terms are potentially ambiguous,” a Google spokesperson told Cnet. “The image search settings now work the same way as in Web search.” We’re not sure that any search in history of the Web for “boobs” has ever been ambiguous, but whatever. That’s the way it is now.

If the SafeSearch change upsets you as much as it upset the people over at Reddit, who first pointed out the change, there is a solution: Use Bing. Really – Microsoft still lets users turn its porn filters completely off. We checked.

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