No, Google Did Not “Ban” These Words
A few days ago we saw a dozen or more posts about Google and Android banning certain words with all sorts of link baitey headlines stating things like:
“‘Demerol,’ ‘Butt’ & ‘Preggers’ Among 1,400 Strange Words Google Bans on Android”
“Google’s Ridiculous List of Banned Words for Android Includes Uterus and Lactation”
This just didn’t sound right, so I went ahead and downloaded the source list from the Android source code.
I grabbed the Android English dictionary and isolated the 1400 or so words that were supposedly “banned” and started to look through them.
The first thing I noticed was the fact that their were random category parameters assigned to most words.
For reference, here is a raw paste of the list in plain text and a list of the words without parameters.
The categories were:
- offensive (184 entries)
- baby talk (111 entries)
- not a word (48 matches)
- medical (667 matches)
- hand added (19 matches)
- abbreviation (24 matches)
The banned Android list actually only has about 184 words marked as offensive.
The rest of the words did not have a category assigned to it.
For instance, Google has not banned the word “AMD” it is merely marked as an abbreviation.
Next thing I did was pull out my phone equipped with the latest version of Android.
I’ve known this for some time from learning about Google auto-complete within the search engine, but Google will not recognize or auto-complete a good number of offensive words. In this case I tried a handful of the “offensive” words within the list and found this to be true.
I then tried both speaking and typing the word “Demerol” a word categorized as “medical” on the list, and found it to be good to go.
For one reason or another, Google has added these words to the auto-correct dictionary however only a small fraction of them appear to actually be “banned” when you actually try to use them.
Am I missing something here?
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