Google Video’s Porn Problem

While Google is busily applying YouTube’s pop culture aegis to safe-for-work fare like politics and hip hop, the company seems content to allow also-ran Google Video to wallow in softcore smut.

Not a believer? Check the first few Google Video top 100 new videos, as delivered via RSS:

  1. Theo laughing at the Wii (195k views)
  2. Prostitute video (22k views)
  3. Beautiful girl kissing you with love (56k views)
  4. Bournemouth prostitute discusses her trade (114k views)
  5. First time online dating how to pickup dating sex (9k views)

The top 100 as seen on the Google Video site itself isn’t much better: Barbie Girl, Ainda te amo, Woman in Shower!!!, Guy pwned by girl and Girl caught by boyfriend. Some of the vids are lighthearted parody, but others, like two girls teach one another how to french kiss, are definitely lascivious.

Changing my content filtering setting doesn’t remove these videos, either. I set it to “Use strict filtering (Filter both explicit text and explicit images),” but the images and videos remain.

The odd thing here is that Google (and Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft) obviously goes to pains to scrub sex-related topics from Hot Trends and the zeitgeist rankings. Yet Google Video is allowed to remain as is. What’s more, traffic to the site seems to be going up, at least according to Hitwise. So what gives, Google?

“Our community of users polices the site for inappropriate material,” said Google spokesperson Gabriel Stricker via e-mail. “The users can flag content that they feel is inappropriate, and once it is flagged it is reviewed by our staff and removed from the system
if it violates our Terms of Use.” (Hyperlink mine.)

In other words, Google’s not to blame, and it’s our fault for not flagging the smut. Not sure I buy that rationale, since Google seems to be doing a bang-up job of removing smut from YouTube, or at least keeping the smut from percolating into the most viewed videos listings. What’s more, Google employs a distributed network of freelancers to verify the content in YouTube videos — why don’t they use that same network for Google Video?

Follow the money, I guess. The more videos uploaded to Google Video, the more Google SERPs reveal those videos, and the more AdWords clicked. If Google can provide a better explanation, I’m all ears.