Google has bowed to public pressure and removed “bisexual” from its list of terms banned from the Auto Complete and Instant Search tools.
The tools are what bring up the list of suggestions when you start typing a phrase into Google, with the suggestions altering with each additional character you type. The former brings the list of suggested search terms in a drop-down menu while the latter displays suggested results on the page itself.
Not every term is included in the possible suggestions however: Google maintains a list of banned phrases, largely those that might lead to sites unsuitable for people searching for more innocent expressions. As we noted a couple of years ago, a collaborative piece of research showed this included everything from “Jenna Jameson” to “rusty trombone.”
Controversially the list also included “lesbian” and “bisexual”, though “heterosexual” and “homosexual” were both fine.
The “lesbian” ban appears to have been overturned some time ago, though at the moment I’m finding that the first suggestion, triggered after four letters, is the not-particularly-progressive “lesbianswholooklikejustinbieber.”
Advocacy BiNet USA has been campaigning on the topic and now reports that Google has conceded the issue. The term will take some time to make it up the priority list, but after typing four characters (passing through Bank of America, Bing and biscuit recipe) “bisexual quotes” is now appearing.
While Google now appears neutral on sexual orientation, it’s becoming even more hostile to anything potentially related to copyright infringement. The company had already added several piracy-related terms to the Auto Complete/Instant Search banned list last year and this week decided that “pirate bay” should meet the same fate. The crew of said torrent index website are feigning indifference at the move, countering that they get very little of their traffic from search engines in the first place.