Google's autocomplete function is causing the company problems once again by revealing information that's legally protected. The company's been accused of displaying the names of rape victims through its Autocomplete and Related Search functions - even when the victims have been granted anonymity by the courts. The problem is that both features use data gathered from previous searches to predict what information the user is looking for and make suggestions. If enough people know a victim's name and use it as one of their search terms, Google's algorithm will provide a helpful prompt to those that don't. In the US, there's no legal prohibition on publishing the names of rape victims, although the media tend to avoid doing so.
Google said Thursday that it had reined in the autocomplete function of its search engine to prevent it from favoring electoral candidates or political parties. It didn't take long for WIRED to find--and Google to hurriedly fix--breaches of the new policy, suggesting it is a work in progress. WIRED found that typing "donate" into the lucrative white box on Google.com After WIRED flagged them to the company, Google said Friday it had blocked those suggestions for breaking its new election-related policies for autocomplete. Google announced those policies at a press briefing Thursday that discussed several projects aimed at keeping falsehoods or bias out of search results and Google News. David Graff, senior director for global policy and standards, indicated the new rules for autocomplete were a response to divisions among US voters and fears about electoral integrity.
This undated photo appeared on a website investigated by the FBI in connection with Dylann Roof, who killed nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church in June 2015. This undated photo appeared on a website investigated by the FBI in connection with Dylann Roof, who killed nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church in June 2015. Dylann Roof murdered nine people in a church basement in Charleston in 2015. He confessed to the massacre shortly after he was arrested. He didn't testify at trial and no witnesses were called on his behalf before he was convicted of federal hate crimes.
Millennials are leaving social media. Facebook turned up some shocking autocomplete search results on Thursday night. SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook search was not safe for work or home on Thursday night. Typing "video of" into the Facebook search bar yielded a shocking result. Jonah Bennett, a graduate student, researcher and journalist, says he was tipped off to the search bar snafu by a friend.
A big part of my job is doing research online. That means from time to time the autocomplete function in my browser's address bar gets filled with mistyped URLs and sites I visited once but never will again. If you've ever spent a boring night surfing around the web chances are your browser's autosuggest function tosses up similar unwanted ghosts. Erasing all autosuggested URLs from your browser is easy, but it would slow you down even more than a few bad suggestions. Here's how to dump the annoying addresses while keeping all the good stuff in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera.