Woah, Google

Violet Blue writes about this disturbing trend better than I can, and I recommend that you read her post along with her links to other bloggers covering the situation.

Basically the easiest way to illustrate what’s going on is to have you, my dear readers, do something for me. I’d like you to open a new tab (you are, of course, using Firefox, right?)

In that new tab, go to Google, and type in “good vibrations.” Survey the first page of search results. Then search for “good vibes.” Check again.

Notice anyone missing from the lineup?

Perhaps this will have been corrected by the time you read this…I sincerely hope so. But as it stands now, when I search for the name of the premiere woman-owned sex positive store in the Bay Area on Google, it does not appear in the first page of search results.

This is due, sex bloggers are claiming, to a change in how Google runs search algorithms. As Violet Blue says, somehow this reworking involved the drop of sex positive retailers, bloggers, and sources of information. A mistake? Possibly…mistakes do happen. But I find it highly suspicious that this change happened right around the holiday time, when people might be shopping for high quality toys from reputable stores…or just looking for information on sexuality.

As I am often reminding the people around me, the internet is not a reliable source of information. There are a lot of things wrong with the internet. In theory, though, Google should not be broken. And when Google is failing to deliver logical search results, I see that as a major flaw. Most people searching the internet for Good Vibrations, for example, are looking for Good Vibrations. Adam and Eve comes up bright and clear in the sponsored links…very interesting indeed.

As this story has begun to break, clear changes have been wrought, and Google appears to be working to rectify the problem. A search for “vibrators” now turns up Babeland, as well it should. (You might know the retailer by the former name, Toys in Babeland.)

But I don’t like the sound of this…not one bit. Why is it that sex positive sites mysteriously vanished from the Google index, even with Safe Search off? Do we need a porno Google to meet our needs now? Or is Google, as Snape would say, up to something?