Cutting the Chai has moved to a new domain:
You can get in touch with Soumyadip at

Monday, June 01, 2009

Microsoft bars Indians from searching for sex

Microsoft silently made available to the public its new (actually Live Search on energy boosters) search engine - they prefer to call it a "decision engine". And the online world was abuzz with buzz about the new product. So was I.

To test the product (well, that wasn't my only purpose) I tried to see what it served me when in asked for the most popular keyword on the World Wide Web - sex. And Microsoft, rahther its new surgically enhanced baby - poured a bucket of cold water on my carnal desires.

The search led me to this page:

Bing India sex search
To get results, change your search terms.

I tried other 'sexually explicit' keywords. Same result. Then I looked for an option to turn off the safe search (as in Google or Live Search), but nothing existed. Then I logged in with my Windows Live ID, to see if it recognises me and displays some benevolence. No avail.

Not the one to give up I changed my country location and tried masquerading as a lascivious surfer from the US of A. And like magic, the discriminatory service revealed all, in partial glory (it was safe search moderate by default). And I could also change the safe search settings.

Bing sex search USA

That can mean one thing (or I would like to look at it that way), that Microsoft Inc. does not want us Indians to search for sex or porn or xxx or nudes or anything of that genre - the sexually explicit kind.

But it doesn't discriminate when you look for kama (essentially sex in Sanskrit) but censors the Kamasutra while it is kindly towards Kokshastra.

The countries that Microsoft thinks (I assume) are more conservative and should be kept away from anything sexual include:

  1. Arabian countries
  2. China
  3. Germany (I wonder why?)
  4. Hong Kong
  5. India
  6. Indonesia
  7. Korea (obviously South Korea)
  8. Malaysia
  9. Singapore
  10. Taiwan
  11. Thailand
  12. Turkey

I had earlier expressed my displeasure on Twitter over Microsoft playing the nanny for us Indians:

@bing sex filter is on for Indians, but if I change my country to USA, I can search for sex. I protest the discrimination. Indians need sex!

Retweet, if you support the cause. This is a clear and blatant violation to the (unwritten) right to online sex.

Just in case you wanted to know more (useless) stuff about Bing. Here are a few that I discovered:

1. Deprived of sex, Indians spent their time looking for Katrina Kaif (who else?)

2. If there are pre-roll ads before the videos, Bing treats the ads as snippets and plays them (maybe publishers hungry for search referrals might need to rethink their video ad placements). Advertisers would obviously be happy.

3. The earlier avatars of the domain

4. This is what the first (that I could find) logo of looked like. Not much of an evolution, I say.

Bing old logo

5. was also for a while related to "a B2B CRM pen-computing AI P2P groupware product with great SMB ROI" project.

6. Bing doesn't (when I cheched a while ago) find a place in Google's Hot Trends. Maybe people are searching about Bing via Bing.

Anyway, I don't see myself binging in the near future, for now am content with googling. Also Google has no qualms about Indians looking for sex.

Related posts:· Why Indians Google for Google on Google?
· New Suggest Feature in Google Hindi - Not Safe For Kids
· Six Countries Don't Have Firefox 3


Nithin said...

does BING actually stand for
But Its Not Google

Soumyadip said...

@Nithin: John C Dvorak might have the answer.

Padmaja said...

So now Microsoft would do moral policing on us, what the hell were they thinking.. so ridiculous

Mittal Patel said...

Same result given while searching for XXX.


Jass said...

I agree with you! I wasn't very much impressed by the bing homepage from day one. For one, microsoft could have certainly done a better job with the logo. It probably dint matter in 1975 when microsoft was founded but it certainly does have an impact now. All said and done the search engine was not all that bad and the results were quite satisfactory but i think i will stick to googling for now.

Abhiroop Banerjee said...

Once again, Cutting the Chai was the first to break this rather alarming news ;)
Well you beat rediff to it :D

Trust MS to hand new excuses for people to dis them. What were they thinking? Rather, WHO does the thinking for them?

Bing isn't Google (somebody joked thats where the name BING comes from - Bing Is Not Google) but I sort of like their image search.

PS The filter itself is pretty lame. All one has to do is fragment the offending word. Search for 'se x' instead of 'sex' and all is fine :P

Abhiroop Banerjee said...

"No! If people from India can't search for sex, they might not know how to do it! Think of what that would do to their population!"

Just one comment made on a post [] about this over at Slashdot (tags include 'microsoft' and 'kamasutra').

The list of countries from where you aren't allowed to look up words like sex also includes - Germany.