Saturday, June 24, 2006

Those dirty-minded ACM-ers.

Yesterday the top US teams from the ACM International Programming Contest came to visit Google, and I gave a tech talk. I can't talk about my current project, so I chose to recycle an old tech talk on Desktop Search.

I kicked off with a demo, and took a chance by asking the audience to suggest query terms for me to perform against my own hard drive, to show that the demo is not canned.

"Dark fiber!"
"Top secret!"
"Google confidential!"

Silly ACM-ers.

They were a great audience, because they got all my jokes (yay!).

At one point I segued into the profanity filter for certain query situations. I was the one who coded this, and I talked about how the challenge is that some phrases are clearly questionable, though each individual word is not. For example, "girl-on-girl action".

This proved to be the most remembered part of the talk. During the Q & A, I got all sorts of questions on it:

"Can I turn off the profanity filter?"
"Can I adjust the words in the profanity filter?"
"How did you come up with the words in the profanity filter?"

Those ACM-ers with their dirty minds!

1 comment:

Just a peasant said...

I for one am very grateful for your filtering efforts. Do you know how hard it was, a few years ago, to work in an in vitro fertilization laboratory and then attempt to Google the term “sperm?” We shy and delicate reproductive physiologists were only safe on the likes of PubMed. But now, we can Google “sperm” without constant dread and annoyance of “The Sperm Shack” coming up as a link. I know, I know – sperm is profane and funny especially to men - until they can’t have children or they get prostate cancer – then suddenly they’re not laughing so much. Anyway, thank you Niniane!