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Google says they "apply a narrow set of removal policies for pornography, violence, and hate speech."

What seems incongruous with this to me is that they also filter many (non-explicit) gay-related searches.

For example, typing "is my son" yields:

is my son autistic? is my son smoking pot? is my son ready for kindergarten? is my son gifted?

Doing a google trends search for these four phrases along with "is my son gay?" shows that the gay query is dramatically more popular: http://bit.ly/aPNHxO

It seems like in some of those cases, knowing that others are searching the same thing could provide some comfort. I'm not sure why Google filters these queries.

Yeah, but the removal policies are regarding the suggest functionality, not the actual search engine, so I don't think this can be considered censorship to any extent.

Like even if a lot of people were searching it, you might not want to be inadvertently suggesting morally questionable queries to people who don't want to see them.

As such, it seems like they err on the side of caution with it. Like there are no suggestions for the word "fuck" despite the fact that it is a wildly popular query.

Their algorithm probably just ends up tagging "is my son gay" as a query that people can enter on their own if they want to search it.

I think they filter results that aren't themselves hate speech but that have hate speech pointing at them or contained within the SERP. I could see anti-gay sites that are considered hate speech having content about "Is my son gay" and that contaminating the suggestion results.

If that's the case, it should be fixed by tweak in the ranking algorithm (rank informative sites higher than junk filled with hate), not by filtering out query suggestions.

That's a very dangerous line to cross - ranking search results by, essentialy, ideology?

I think it would be appropriate to rank objective(ish) information about a topic higher than extreme opinions about the topic.

But what's objective? The best way to marginalize an opposing viewpoint is to paint them as extremists who shouldn't be taken seriously.

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