I had lunch at Google’s London office today. They’re fed well, these Googlies. And their guests…

On the way out I noticed that, next to the reception desk, there was a scrolling display of search terms that people are currently using.


This is standard now in many of the Google offices, I believe. Here, it was rather nattily projected onto frosted glass.

On the way home, I was wondering how they… ahem… sanitise it. Obviously, there are some search terms that could simply be excised using a checklist. Others could be filtered out based on the content that was actually returned as a result of the search.

But I wonder how many embarrassing phrases, politically-controversial assertions, etc, slip through… Can they filter it algorithmically? Or is there somebody hidden away on some Google campus whose job it is to weed out the unpresentable?

1 Comment

If you ask me, I’d tell you it’s faked.

I spent half an hour in the Google reception a few years ago (before they’d moved to Victoria) and I saw suspiciously repeating searches appearing. I think it’s a little computer program, which looks like this:

load array sanitised_searches();

while we_still_earn_bucketloads_of_profit {
echo sanitised_searches( rand(0,sizeof(sanitised_searches));
wait (a random number of seconds between 0.1 and 2);


Yes, I couldn’t help wondering if it was something like that. I think somebody once told me, though, that they had seen searches for recent news stories appearing on the screen; that may have been just after an update, though, I guess!


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