Atanu Dey On India's Development

Truth in Advertising

| 6 Comments

That ad is from 1979. It says, “Via PIA” but if there was truth in advertising, it would be “Via Pakistan”. [via Liberty News Central.] And talking of Islamic terrorism and advertising, here’s something that does not surprise me.

What’s Islam? Don’t ask Google

Type a few words into the search field on Google’s home page and the engine automatically returns a helpful list of popular, similar searches for the words you’ve typed in so far — a convenient way to find the right information.

Enter “Christianity is” and you’ll find results that, while offensive, at least indicate common discussions on the Internet. Likewise, type “Judaism is” and Google suggests other, potentially offensive searches such as “Judaism is false” and “Judaism is not a race.”

But type “Islam is” into the search engine and Google’s auto-results pane mysteriously vanishes, leading some to conclude that Google, whose mantra is “don’t be evil,” is censoring its search results.

Google is a legitimate business. They are into making money the old fashioned way — delivering a service that users find valuable. You cannot expect them to be martyrs. You don’t mess around with Islam and its hordes of mindless zombies who are quick to anger and fly into murderous rages regularly. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Salman Rushdie and others have to live in constant fear and under heavy security. Theo van Gogh and dozens of other high profile victims of Muslim rage have died for their bravery. (I am only mentioning the celebrities, as there is no count of the nobodies that were murdered — perhaps in the millions — for perceived insult to Islam.)

The rich are different from us, as F Scott Fitzgerald noted, in that they have more money. But they too are afraid of dying. Google, the corporation, is headed by humans. Rich but humans nonetheless. They fear for their lives just as much as we all do. Remember that practically no news agency in the world had the courage to reprint the Danish muhammed cartoons. Not the NY Times. Not Washington Post. Not Times of India. Not the Guardian. Not one single major newspaper in the whole of the “free” world.

Why single out Google for caving in to the Islamic demands? Aren’t the people at the UN also afraid? They must be because they want to make criticizing Islam a crime. They are all Islamophobes — afraid of Islam.

  • http://hoopyfrood.org hoopyfrood

    Atanu, I don’t think this is intentional.
    From this discussion a few days ago:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/01/google_is_being_sensitive.php

    It seems that “Islam is” doesn’t generate autosearch results because of the google algorithm. “Islam” and “is” both start with is. Google’s algorithm probably thinks its a repetition.

    “Muhammad is” does generate results like “Muhammad is satan” etc. Wouldn’t be so if it were censored.

  • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

    hoopyfrood:

    Thanks for the clarification. Makes sense.

    Atanu

  • nag

    I tried “isobar is “, “islolation is ” and “island is ” (with the white space after is) and got results for all of the above. So…

    • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

      nagarajv, now that is what I call a scientific mind! Testing of hypotheses and then figuring out how much confidence you can have in it. Thank you. I do hope you will continue to comment on this blog.

  • Venkat

    I am able to see lot of suggestions when I type “Islam is” and the very first happens to be something offensive like “___ is bullshit” ;)

    By the by, a friend of mine found this out… type google.co.uk… type sex and see what the suggestions are.. now, type google.co.in… type sex and check what the suggestions are!! it’s fascinating to note google does censorship outside China too!!

  • nag

    Venkat,

    Thanks for the update. It appears things have changed but based on your other example have they?