Wired noticed that in the latest version of Android, the predictive text won’t recognise the words “sex,” “intercourse” or “screwing,” among others.
Looking under the bonnet of the source code, Wired discovered an “obsessive” and “baffling” list of 1,400 words that Google wants to protect its users from seeing.
On the list are the words “coitus” and other medical and anatomical terms and words such as “panty.” All that is missing is a fear of a woman’s ankle.
Wired correctly points out that the list suggests that Google has a surprising discomfort with sexuality, reproductive health and undergarments.
On the list too are “geek” and “Chromebook” we would have thought that Google would have liked the former and would want to promote the later.
You can type any word that the puritans from Google do not like, but you cannot use predictive text and have to write every letter, from start to finish. Google will have a good go at trying to censor “condom,” for “condition” if you let it – a move which would have the backing of the conservative elements of the Roman Catholic church who are against that sort of thing.
It is probably better to go into the app’s settings menu and disable the word-blocking filter. Then you can ask your mates to buy you a pack of condoms in case you get lucky.
It is not clear what Google is up to with this bizarre Victorian censorship. It is not as if they can protect any children from seeing such words, as it would be the kids who would be typing them in the first place.
If Google is trying to censor to make religious wing nuts in the US happy, it will find that it is starting an ever-increasing censorship spiral which will result in it being as oppressive and autocratic as China, or even worse, Apple.