I've discovered that Google removes auto suggestion for some phrases on their service. For example try googling:

  • women should
  • men should
  • women are
  • men are

The auto suggestions will disappear after you write "women " or "men ". The same goes when googling "children ".

It's the same when trying to Google "wives should", however "wives are" (which returns some very horrific suggestions) and "husbands should" does provide suggestions.

I'm not sure what the rational is behind this. Could it be because the returned result is so overwhelming that Google has decided to remove the auto suggestions (not likely)? Or could it be because they're afraid of being perceived as promoting labeling of certain gender groups / domestic roles (children doesn't fit into this though I feel)?

Does anyone have any insight on this? Has Google made a statement regarding this behavior? And can one draw conclusions on how this affects the UX, that is limiting functionality to serve another purpose separate from the service?


1 Answer 1


Google actually removes autosuggestions for specific searches.
In which cases?

Searchengineland writes:

Were things being removed? Yes, and for these specific reasons, Google says:

  • Hate or violence related suggestions
  • Personally identifiable information in suggestions
  • Porn & adult-content related suggestions
  • Legally mandated removals
  • Piracy-related suggestions

I've googled this list but I haven't been able to find the original page on Google Help Center.

On Google Help Center you can find this page about "Autocomplete" where Google says:

Our algorithm automatically detects and excludes a small set of search terms. But it’s designed to reflect the diversity of our users’ searches and content on the web. So just like the web, the search terms shown may seem strange or surprising.

  • At this page is quoted a previous version of the Google Help Center page about "Autocomplete" I've linked above: productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/websearch/v4NDcIxGfe0 . It seems like it contained this sentence: "We aim to provide you with relevant search queries, but we exclude a narrow class of search queries related to pornography, violence, and hate speech" (the sentence is now gone). Sep 22, 2014 at 12:28
  • hmm, OK, so that being said one can assume that Google relates searches based on "women ", "men " and "children " to fall under one of those categories? a bit surprising actually. I personally think monitoring the suggestions would have been enough, something that probably should be done with some other phrases (such as the one I listed in the OP). Sep 22, 2014 at 12:37
  • 2
    I guess the reason is that the most popular (and therefore autosuggested) result for "women should" or "men are" or "children are" were often close to hate speech or even worse. We know gender issues are particularly delicate matters, likely to drive a lot of criticism towards Google if misused. I think monitoring wouldn't be enough too. You can filter most words, but what happens if even for just 10 minutes Google suggest you a sex-related keyword when searching "Children are"? A single mistake can cost too much - so it's easier for Google to remove the autocomplete at all. Sep 22, 2014 at 13:17
  • Sounds like a sound solution. Sep 22, 2014 at 13:35
  • They're not too quick with it though: eastasiastudent.net/china/…
    – MHG
    Sep 27, 2014 at 11:12

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