Google’s Still Got Problems With Bis
A new online petition is putting pressure on search engine Google to change its ways over the word “bisexual”
More than two years ago we reported that search engine Google was blocking searches for information about bisexuality. The website’s “autocomplete” function suggests to users what they may be looking for as they type. Searching for bisexual information, however, doesn’t bring up suggestions the way searching for lesbian or gay information does. It doesn’t even bring up information in the way searching for pansexual does, so this isn’t about that “sex” word in the middle of the word bisexual.
A year ago, Google promised to change things – albeit only in the USA. Users of the “co.uk” version of Google would still face the bar on assisting bi search.
A year on… it’s still working pretty much as it did a year ago, not offering search suggestions. Initially this could have been put down to there not being enough search information in Google’s system, but after a year they surely know what things users are likely to be looking for.
So hot on the heels of their success tackling the Apple iTunes store’s negative attitude to the tag “bisexual”, the people behind the Quist LGBT history program have turned their fire on Google, and launched a petition on the Change.org website.
The full petition text reads,
“To: Larry Page, CEO of Google, Inc.
I am writing about your apparent ban on the word “bisexual” in the autocomplete function of your search. You can see it here: youtu.be/jfbO4iFaJOw
I know you have been in touch with organization like BiNet USA about this in the past and that you have stated you will correct the issue. However, it still appears that finding information on bisexual resources is more difficult than it is for other sexual identities.
Bisexuality is an identity, not a dirty word. Bisexuals around the world face isolation that online resources can help. Please let them find this information without placing a barrier in their way. Finish what you said you would do in 2012.
You can add your name online at www.change.org/petitions/google-inc-unblock-the-word-bisexual-from-autocomplete
We at Manchester bi group BiPhoria ran the petition from our Pride stall in August and scooped up around 300 signatures. It has a sort of personal dimension for bi groups, as the google block makes it that bit harder for bis seeking advice and support to find what they’re looking for online – including to find out about groups like BiPhoria.
One fun aspect was watching the people who derided the idea that Google might be blocking such things, pulled internet devices of one form or another out of a pocket to triumphantly prove their point, and a few keypresses later their expressions changed and they asked where to sign.