Google: Jews are stingy and Blacks stink
The new Instant Google is making a lot of buzz. Personally, it gives me motion sickness, but we'll see what people think in the long run. In any case, it will probably give a second life to the old game of seeking weird proposals, which has been fun for quite a while on Google Suggest. The French version helps us know what people think of their neighbor:
Even if you are not fluent in French, you can get the idea. "Jews are stingy", "Blacks stink" and so on.
Interestingly, such suggestions are blacklisted on Google.com. Type "jews are ..." or "Blacks are ..." and you'll get nothing at all. It is clear that the sensitivity to this type of dubious language is much greater in the US, where a bad buzz on racist stereotypes would quickly bring the greatest harm to any company, Google or not. There seems to be a two-tier approach in Moutain View, depending on languages and cultures. For example, I noted as early as 2005 that Google didn't bother filtering out by default the worst pornographic results on the .fr version, when they had been blacklisted for a long time on Google.com (this has changed, fortunately).
Anyway, if this is really a reflection of what people type in the beginning of the 21st century, it is a bit sad. The Age of Enlightment seems far behind.