back to article Feeling sweary? Don't tell Google Docs

Google's turned on speech recognition for Google Docs users, but only if you're polite. That's the conclusion of blogger Gretchen McCulloch, who writes about swearing at Strong Language (while the blog is probably NSFW, it's got some gems, such as a thorough trawl of Australia's Hansard to record “unparliamentary language” …

  1. Graham Marsden
    WTF?

    What a load of...

    ***** ********!

    I think that they should just ** **** and stick this up their *******!

    1. Graham Marsden
      Happy

      Re: What a load of...

      PS (In case anyone was wondering) the words removed from the above post were:

      Utter

      Nonsense

      Go

      Away

      and:

      Jumpers

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Answer

    Why don't the "Winkers" at the "fracking" chocolate factory takes their prudish ideas and stuff them up their "harshs"...

    The "fracking" "counts" need to stop sucking "cooks" for a moment and start to realise that the real world is not as "fracking" pretty as they would like us to believe.

    What's next ? Removing Penis, Vagina, Breasts and Clitoris because they too are "rude".....

    The PC brigade must be celebrating this amazing "fracking " news...

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Answer

      Go use some other software.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Answer

        Go use some other software.

        I used to. I do remember the days when entering f*ck you on the command line of SPSS-X gave you the answer "your place or mine"

        1. Magnus Ramage

          Re: Answer

          I do remember the days when entering f*ck you on the command line of SPSS-X gave you the answer "your place or mine"

          Are you sure that wasn't SPSS-XXX?

          1. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: Answer

            How sure are you that was a SPSS-X (whatever that might be)? I remember the exact same command existing in MATLAB...

        2. Squander Two

          Re: Answer

          Microsoft used to (maybe still do) have a team whose job is to figure out what frustrated users typing angrily into help fields actually want. So, for instance, typing "goddamn clippy" would bring up instructions on how to remove the bloody Office Paperclip. That's interesting, my friends and I thought, and we started experimenting. Turned out typing "fuck you" into the help box in MS Word brought up a template for a job resignation letter. Hats off to Microsoft.

          Don't think it still does, sadly.

      2. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Answer

        >Go use some other software.

        Hey look my general attitude towards Google the last few years. My only android phone (a spare) for example doesn't have a Google account associated with or any Google apps on it. Duckduckgo also is getting better by the week as well. If only Apple Maps wasn't still such garbage. At least you can disable location service for Gmaps when its not running.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Answer

      I would guess that it is to stop someone suing google for $100billion for distress, offense and personal harm due to saying the word Phucket and it translating to fuck it.

      Therefore you need to change the setting to 'allow offensive words' first.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Answer

        I would guess that it is to stop someone suing google for $100billion for distress, offense and personal harm due to saying the word Phucket and it translating to fuck it.

        I wonder how much speech recognition should be expected to compensate for the complete mispronunciation of words though?

      2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: Answer

        "Phucket", the place, starts with a 'p' sound. Technically, it's an "aspirated" p sound, which means that it comes with a quick outburst of air. The 'h' is what distinguishes a normal p sound (like in "nap") from an aspirated one in the transliteration to our alphabet. It's never a good idea to assume that normal English orthography rules (like 'ph' -> 'f') apply when dealing with foreign words, especially place names.

    3. John 110
      Joke

      Re: Answer

      See, now that was much more creative and entertaining AND got your point across better than actually using the words you've substituted.

      My granny was right, swearing isn't big and it isn't clever...

      1. John 110

        Re: Answer

        Ooh, I see I got some thumbs down from people who think swearing IS big and clever. Well, well.

  3. BoldMan

    So what happens when you try to write about Scunthorpe or the Barnsley town of Penistone, the Berkshire village of Cockpole Green or the village of Hassocks in Sussex?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Well presumably, nothing. Otherwise Google Maps would be a bit f*****

    2. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

      or the Austrian village "Fuck".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >or the Austrian village "Fuck".

        Was it named during the war?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

        I think it's actually "Fucking", at least that's what I seem to recall it saying on the sign.

        They have to do something in the long, cold winters.

        1. smudge Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

          You're lucky you saw the sign. I remember reading that the number one local complaint is "People are always stealing our "Fucking" sign!".

        2. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

          "I think it's actually "Fucking", at least that's what I seem to recall it saying on the sign."

          That's what it says (surprisingly, all things considered) on Google maps.

          https://www.google.com/maps/@48.0673358,12.8622639,15z

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

            "and for mediaeval scholars Gropecunt Lane existed in many English cities; its main trade is obvious"

            Political party HQ?

            1. Graham Marsden
              Happy

              Re: "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

              >> "and for mediaeval scholars Gropecunt Lane existed in many English cities; its main trade is obvious"

              > Political party HQ?

              The one in London is know better known as Threadneedle Street, home of the Bank of England...

              (Make of that what you will!)

          2. Simon Harris Silver badge
            Go

            Re: "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

            Apparently Google maps has no qualms about planning this route.

            Wank to Fucking

            It even suggests going via Tittmoning.

          3. MrNed
            Happy

            Re: "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

            I notice Fucking is just above Wolfing, which I'm assuming is twinned with Doging. Doging can be reached from Fucking by traveling through Dick.

            1. stucs201

              Re: "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

              There is also Slut in Sweden.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

                "There is also Slut in Sweden."

                Sorry, you're not allowed to use that word because it's demeaning to women.

                Also in future physicists will have to refer to "the two very narrow rectangular apertures experiment".

            2. phear46

              Re: "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

              There's. Fingrinhoe in Essex. Go figure.....

          4. Andy 66

            Re: "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

            That's a long way from Pussy in the French Alpes

            https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5515783,6.454918,15z

            I see it at least twice a year and it's always cold there. Even the Torrent of Pussy that passes through it is always frozen.

            1. Simon Harris Silver badge

              Re: "or the Austrian village "Fuck"."

              Pussy...

              presumably that's twinned with Twatt in the Orkneys, or Twatt in the Shetland Isles - take your pick!

    3. ItsNotMe
      Coat

      And on the left side of the pond...

      ...in the great state of Pennsylvania...one can start out in Blue Ball...drive for about 15 minutes...enter Intercourse...then end your journey in Smoketown 7 minutes later...feeling very satisfied.

      However...to reach the three towns in Pennsylvania named Climax...one must be willing to put several hours into the effort. They are not easy to reach from Intercourse...but when is it ever...at least for her?

      Mine's the one with the NSFW map book in the pocket.

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: And on the left side of the pond... @ItsNotMe

        "Mine's the one with the NSFW map book in the pocket."

        ...Dirty Hungarian Map Book?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      also

      Slutshole lane (Norfolk)

      Crotch Cresent (Oxford)

      and for mediaeval scholars Gropecunt Lane existed in many English cities; its main trade is obvious

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: also

        When did the English go all prudish?

        Chaucer's pilgrims include a nun and a monk, and various respectable people. They are off on a religious pilgrimage. One of his tales, supposedly told by a miller, is about a carpenter who is cuckolded by a student, with some quite graphic detail including the wife getting kissed on the anus by a trainee cleric. The only person in the story who gets no sympathy is the carpenter, who shouldn't have married a wife so much younger than himself.

        Everybody is reported as laughing at the story except the carpenter in the group, who later tells a story about a miller being cuckolded by a pair of students.

        1. Yugguy

          Re: also

          The ENGLISH havent. Americans have always had a weird thing with censorship were kids can see people getting killed left right and centre but cant see a breast or hear a swear word.

    5. VinceH Silver badge

      "So what happens when you try to write about Scunthorpe or the Barnsley town of Penistone, the Berkshire village of Cockpole Green or the village of Hassocks in Sussex?"

      Mentioning Scunthorpe reminds me of my first (Windows Mobile) PDA back in, what was it, 2004ish, give or take?

      It had a handwriting recognition feature, so I duly tried it - with the word cunt, which it 'recognised' as (IIRC) curt.

      My handwriting's a bit crap, and it's also possible it was matching the letters written against an internal dictionary, which perhaps didn't include cunt - so giving it the benefit of the doubt, I tried the individual letters, each two letter sequence (cu, un, nt) and both three letter sequences (cun, and unt). All were recognised. I think I also tried a made up word that wouldn't be in the dictionary, without a problem.

      So I tried cunt again. Curt.

      I also tried Scunthorpe, which got Scunthorpe.

      I wasn't impressed.

      (And yes, I'm fully aware that it was a pointless, childish thing to try. But I'm a bloke, not a grown up!)

      1. Pedigree-Pete

        Grown up!

        Growing old is obligatory, growing up is totally optional. :)

  4. MrWibble

    I haven't had the update on my devices yet, so I can't test if this is true, but have they tried turning off "block offensive words" within the google app settings (under "voice")?

  5. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Faggot

    So if I'm talking about faggots of wood (a bundle of brushwood or similar), or indeed eating the pork offal meatball of the same name then I'm basically ****ed?

    1. Captain TickTock

      Re: Faggot

      Porked, basically

  6. joeW

    the Great Google Gay Translation Fail of January 2015

    The what? I must have missed that, anyone care to f****** elaborate?

    1. Not That Andrew

      Re: the Great Google Gay Translation Fail of January 2015

      I suspect it's related to this article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/28/google_gay_translation_fail/

  7. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    in a bit of a hole

    Does it do English or Merkin?

    Just wondered if it likes 'arse'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: in a bit of a hole

      The Mericans love arse, anal and rimming, it's in their nature.

    2. stucs201

      Re: in a bit of a hole

      Well it's rejection of faggot implies it's based on American swearing. So I'd be curious to see if wanker and bollocks are allowed.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: in a bit of a hole

        It would be interesting to learn how they set the standards as to what constitutes a naughty word and what is acceptable.

        For example : List of Acceptable / naughty but debatable words

        Arse / Arsehole

        Masturbator / Wanker

        Vagina / Muff

        Dick / Dick ( Dick is a name after all)

        Sperm / Jizz( Jizm) and derivatives

        Erection / Hardon (Boner) and derivatives

        Pearl necklace / Pearl necklace

        After we have added some words to the list I can only presume that the list will grow longer as people become accustomed to using alternative words. Fuck might get replaced by Feck ( as the Irish already do), will we then begin adding those words too ?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: in a bit of a hole

          "Arse / Arsehole"

          I think you are looking for 'Anus' :)

      2. Squander Two

        American swearing

        > it's rejection of faggot implies it's based on American swearing. So I'd be curious to see if wanker and bollocks are allowed.

        Some American TV writers have started getting round US broadcasters' word bans by using British swearing. Got quite a shock watching Castle when Detective Esposito called someone a wanker.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: American swearing

          @Runcible

          "I think you are looking for 'Anus' :)"

          I was thinking about "arse", as follow

          * He fell on his arse after tripping on the kerb whilst walking backwards - Nothing naughty here..

          * The arsehole fell down after tripping on the kerb whilst walking backwards - A lot less polite (debatable)

          * The fucking arsehole - Defiantely the rude variant..( Nothing to debate here)

          Just for the records, I never go looking for Anus, lol.

  8. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Better language use

    I remember filters being appied to an internal group at work some time back.

    Overnight some folks became 'fellating member-munchers'.

    Others were advised to depart this place and procreate' and the old Hansard quote regarding 'micturating in a non-leeward direction' was popular.

    But not being allowed the occasional fuck was a bummer.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Better language use

      Nah, if you're doing it right you can just get Shakespearian and insult away to your hearts content. It's always fun to do and watch the confused look on the targets face as he slowly works out exactly what you've just called him.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Better language use

        "Nah, if you're doing it right you can just get Shakespearian"

        Our English mistress (Newnham) was highly amused by a bowdlerised-for-schools copy of Shakespeare that we had to use, because all the modern rude words had been removed, but the really rude stuff was still there because the bowdlerisers hadn't recognised it as such.

  9. adnim Silver badge
    Meh

    No problem here

    I don't tell Google docs anything, never will. Oh I do tell Google to fuck off, but it is under my breath and they never hear me, just like they never see any of my communications (apart from the odd search query tied to my IP address). The Internet works without Google and works a lot better when all Google ad and tracking services are blocked at the router.

    They have a damn good search facility and Google maps can be useful. Yet there are very good alternatives. No one *NEEDS* Google. They have just managed to convince the ill-advised and lay person that Google ARE the Internet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No problem here

      "(apart from the odd search query tied to my IP address)"

      Use StartPage https://startpage.com/ it still uses the Google search but your IP address is not revealed. You can then open any link in a new tab if it doesn't contain a Google redirection.

      You can also select to see your results through the StartPage proxy - but many pages won't display owing to the NoScript NoJava nature of the proxy.

      You may need to adjust the StartPage settings before you use it. It defaults to using POST rather than GET which is good - but also applies family filters and uses various other settings that look like they might weaken the anonymity.

      A bug with StartPage is that under some circumstances it will retransmit a search as a GET rather than a POST - thus exposing your request. This is usually seen if you change the settings after you have a search key already set up. Always load a fresh instance before changing settings. It can also happen if there is a hiccup and the browser asks if you want to resend the details.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: No problem here

        You could also use DuckDuckGo with a "!g" prefix on your query to force it to use Google.

  10. Anonymous Blowhard

    I'm lost for words...

  11. The Dark Lord

    Just popping in to give some love to the person who wrote the subheading to this article. Bravo!

  12. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    Don't like Google's prudish speech recog?

    Well fork off and do it yourself then.

  13. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Presumably "tits" goes through in order to avoid death threats from fundamentalist ornithologists.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      But...

      What would it do to:-

      I've just seen a pair of Great Tits in the garden.

      (they were on my Bird Feeder)

      Only a dirty mind would read more into that than there really is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But...

        "Only a dirty mind would read more into that than there really is."

        I can't remember who it was (Humphrey Littleton?) but I remember the apocryphal tale of the lady who wrote to the BBC complaining that she had turned on the radio and immediately heard the words "tits like coconuts" whereupon she had instantly turned off. She was told that had she left the radio on she would have heard the rest of the sentence, which was "tits like coconul shells filled with suet."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, right. We all know those hypocrites enjoy a nice pair of boobies when no-one's watching.

      1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

        Bird Feeder... fnar fnar.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Bird Feeder... fnar fnar."

          Our local corn and feed merchant used to have a box on the counter labelled "Fat balls for wild birds". Make of that what you will.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      In that case boobies and shag should be allowed too.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    language filters

    a few - ok, more than a few - years ago, worked on a thing that was SMS-based messaging to a public display board; building owner had people are paying 25p/message premium to get their message displayed. We blocked just about every word we could think of that might cause offence, and then decided enough was enough, we'd filter new things when people objected.

    What we did not count on was the people who took it as a challenge to try to sneak their favourite words through the filters ... made a f***ing fortune, compared with the unfiltered one in another building ...

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: language filters

      Well, there is the classic one of I think the Norfolk? city council not receiving the planning complaint from a pensioner about the neighbor having an unsightly erection in her backyard.

      You gotta love websense mail filtering sometimes. It is just... precious...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: language filters

        A few years back I did jury service ( hence AC) and we had to postpone hearing the case because the accused's statement couldn't be transmitted to the court from the cop shop. THe software rejected it because it contained swearing. He'd been accused of trying to murder someone!

  15. Scott 53
    Thumb Down

    WTF

    So I can try and call someone a fucker and end up being accused of being homophobic?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF

      Breathing in the wrong direction is enough to have you being accused of homophobia these days....

  16. Grikath Silver badge
    Devil

    heh...

    Could be worse... If they use a master table of Bad Words in multiple languages for that...

    In one game I played, the brilliant admins had merged the forum blacklists of several languages, including the dutch bad-word lexicon, with english, with the usual way-to-liberal use of wildcards. The end result was that you couldn't even write common english words like g*reet*ing, or st*reet*, or mas*tering* a skill...

    Mind.. it was fun to play spot-the-swearword as a sidegame, especially for the slavic languages. Especially since that list was pretty comprehensive and contained some real archaic and out of use/context words. Verrah Edumacational ;)

    1. auburnman

      Re: heh...

      Way back when the PS3 chat starred out bits of 'punching' and 'engine'. I think we worked out 'unchi' was something pretty rude in Japanese.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: heh...

        PS Home, when it first came out, had people coming up to you and saying ****O! because the HELL had been blipped. Also, 1 Billion people weren't allowed to refer to their own nationality because INDIAN is only ever an unacceptable word for Native American.

  17. frank ly Silver badge

    re. "poof"

    Can you say "Puff The Magic Dragon", or is that blocked as a harmful drugs reference?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: re. "poof"

      It's an evil weapon used by Americans thus, it will probably get through. There's other names for military aircraft (so-named by the crews and maintenance staff) that probably wouldn't.

  18. Hawkeye Pierce

    To be fair though...

    I suspect it's not so much that they heard you say a swearword and asterisk it out accordingly , it's more the fear that you said something that they misheard as a swearword.

    I think I'd prefer it to put in "f***ing" if I said something else, that to put in a misheard curse. Hopefully I'd spot "f***ing" more readily, although anyone not proofing any speech-to-text is just asking for trouble,

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    <3 Apple

    This is one instance where Apple is awesome. I don't own one, but if all the autocorrect-fail sites are anything to go by, they interpret ambiguous words in the dirtiest filthiest most perverted way possible. It's fucking beautiful.

  20. big_D Silver badge

    Limp Bizkit

    Hmm, try feeding it some Kevin Bloody Wilson, Hey Santa or better still Limp Bizkit's Hot Dog...

  21. rvt

    No usage for the lady that wrote Fifty shades of gray.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Coat

      Odd

      That actually parsed as "Filthy' Shades of Gray :)

  22. captain veg

    endless fun

    Just in case you've never seen it, the equally American Merriam-Webster dictionary's web site is not at all prudish, and features audio clips demonstrating pronunciation. I couldn't help myself in stealing some of the sound files and attaching them to critical Windows events. It was quite literally some days before the novelty wore off.

    http://m-w.com/

    -A.

  23. Spoonsinger

    So is....

    tickling the bearded clam and licking the sauce from the chocolate starfish OK?

  24. Old Handle

    I'm a little surprised, because my Android tablet seems to love transcribing the word "pussy" at inappropriate times.

  25. Jason Hindle

    What the duck!

    Sent from my Google Docs account, with "New and improved" dictation.

  26. CaptainBanjax

    Loathesome Casuals

    They didnt trybthe main words in any gentlechaps arsenal.

    Quim

    Cad

    Bounder

    Balderdash

    Fiddlesticks

    I suggest we start swaering like gentlemen immediately and start flagging things as NSFVE. Not safe for Victorian era.

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