Until now, users calling up Google Image Search didn’t have to deal with the filters responsible for blocking images tagged for explicit content, with SafeSearch coming as an optional setting checked by concerned parents.
On Safer Internet Day, Google announces the default activation of the SafeSearch filter for all search engine users, if the option has not been previously expressed. While it does not automatically remove images with explicit or inappropriate sexual themes (e.g. scenes of violence), the new filter will prevent them from being accidentally viewed by adding an additional information dialog with a See Image option displayed at the bottom. In addition, users logged in from Google accounts with an unconfirmed age, or already set below the legal threshold, will not be able to view those images at all. Instead, users who meet the age criteria can uncheck the SafeSearch filter by visiting the Settings menu, which is displayed when interacting with the avatar picture displayed in the top-right corner of the image.
Important to know, the Safe Search filter only affects Google Search searches, switched to the Images tab. Regular links directing users to sites that specialize in pornography or other forms of inappropriate content for minors are not affected in any way, and the rules applied by that site apply.
The change comes after Google last year promised to deliver “better quality content” on Google Search, reducing the visibility of questionable and unoriginal content in search results listings.