For organizations the world over, Google is the leading tool used for research, formal and informal. This is because Google crawls and organizes a changing web at a rate that rivals real-time interaction. Google’s greatest strength, however, is also its weakness. In its thoroughness of documenting the web, Google can produce some pretty heinous search results.
To combat this phenomenon, Google created SafeSearch as a method of cleaning up results for broader audiences. Organizations rely on Google SafeSearch to keep their users safe while performing searches online, and largely it works very well.
But despite its best efforts, there are just some blights on human language that slide right by SafeSearch’s functionality. While the results vary in terms of egregiousness of the error, there’s still the question of what place these results have in SafeSearch at all.
Innocent Searches Gone Bad:
1. Blue Waffle - This result yields pictures directly in the image search which could be considered explicit.
2. Lemon Party - While the results of this are far less explicit image wise, they’re not exactly wholesome.
3. Kids in a sandbox - The biggest risk here is in what the search in All and Video results. While many of those resources will be blocked when clicked, some of those blocks depend entirely on your web filtering settings.
3. Tub Girl - The biggest risk in the All results, but the illustrations in the Image results don’t leave much to the imagination.
4. 2 Girls 1 Cup - While this is a rather old instance of this phenomenon, All, Video, and Image results are potentially disturbing.
5. Goatse - These images are more suggestive than they are explicit, but the possibility of arriving on this term accidentally is too big to leave it off the list.
While Google does have a history of cleaning up these kinds of searches (bears or cougars, anyone?), the truth is there’s no telling what the next misappropriated search term will be. Sometimes it feels like the more innocuous the term, the more likely it is to be hijacked.
That’s why it’s not only important to force SafeSearch, but also to provide additional protection. Search term filtering is more exhaustive than Google SafeSearch. And because it’s also customizable, so you can stay ahead of the next bad search term before most of your students even know what it is.