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”

and

“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)
offensive android

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.

offensive android words

 

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.

offensive android demerol speech

Summary

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?

Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe is the founder and CEO of Elite Strategies Llc. Patrick takes a hands on approach to managing Elite Strategies and loves to get involved with technical projects relating to clients inbound marketing needs.
Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe
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