Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Searching the web the Catholic way

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

Google's a bloody good search engine, isn't it? What a shame, then, that I won't be using it any more. Not now that I can switch to Catholic Google, a stunningly unnecessary new resource which conveniently undermines the free flow of information that so defines the internet by "[producing] results from all over the internet with more weighting given to Catholic websites and [eliminating] the vast majority of unsavoury content, such as pornography."

As a review of the site sent to me by Christina Martin points out, the search engine's tailoring/censorship mechanism means, for example, that in a search for "birth control" the first results that come up are Catholic pages warning against its use. Alas, the review also points out that Catholic Google isn't so great at weeding out porn sites, as the reviewer found by searching for "Kim Kardashian sex tape" (yeah, I had to look her up on normal Google too - she's an American "socialite" apparently).

So, I've done a bit of testing myself. A casual search for "sex" keeps things nice and Catholic – the first result is to "Sex Kills, Become Catholic and Live Forever", with "Morals and Marriage: The Catholic Background to Sex" coming in second. "Porn" brings up no results whatsoever, compared to normal Google's whopping 249,000,000. Unfortunately for the Vatican, when it's not thinking about sex the search engine isn't so great at routing out potentially embarassing material. My search for "pope nazi" (I was thinking of Pius XII) amusingly brought up the current Pope's Wikipedia page as the first result, while a search for "Catholic child abuse" returns lots of material related to the child abuse scandals.

So how does New Humanist fare? Sadly, Catholic Google seems to see little threat in our content, with a search for "New Humanist" returning similar results to a normal Google search.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

From the site's disclaimer:

> The site is not associated or affiliated with Google.com

Does this alter your decision to discontinue using Google?

Texturbation said...

Searching for "evolution" is also most enlightening.

Editor said...

You can search the atheist google here:

http://www.google.com/cse?cx=011327884965790046676:18joiolsoxo&ie=UTF-8&q=&sa=Search

Andrew said...

Not to mention the hilarious Google ads that accompany the results. Search for homosexuality and receive lot of typical information from catholic web sites... along with ads with titles like "Meet Gay Men!"

Kosmikray said...

Hey lighten up. If people want to limit their searching to sites with a certain bent thats their right.Just as long as we're not all forced to.

Sometimes Atheists and skeptics can be just as precious and narrow as the opposition.

cwoods said...

Everybody sing along now....

"Catholic Google, with its tiny little mustache, Catholic Google, hey it gave me VD"

Anonymous said...

-Hey lighten up. Sometimes Atheists and skeptics can be just as precious and narrow as the opposition.-

This was light hearted commentary...making light fun of the unintended consequences of this sort of escapade.