We’ve come a long way in the nineteen years since Filo Yang invented Yahoo!, the first search engine. In Internet time that’s more than a century, right? I got a reminder of that a few days ago when I learned that one of my favorite search engines, Alta Vista, is no more; it has been swallowed up by Yahoo!. Back in 1997 and 1998, Alta Vista was the most popular search engine, until Google appeared in cyberspace. Oh, how Alta Vista fell after that!
Anyway, today’s search engines do a lot more than simple word searches. We have search engines just for one website; search engines for pictures; search engines for MP3 files; search engines for porn; search engines for torrent files; search engines for research papers, etc. For example, early in the days of The Xenophile Historian, I had a link to Argo, a search engine that only gave results from pages having to do with ancient and medieval history.
Now there is Halalgoogling, a search engine that blocks content banned by Islamic law. The search engine has filters that promise to exclude pornography, nudity, gay, lesbian, bisexual, gambling, and anti-Islamic content from its search results. If you specifically look for that kind of stuff, all you will get is this statement: “No results found or you have searched Haram (forbidden) content.”
That may sound fine if you are a Moslem cleric, but I see a few problems they will have to overcome if Halalgoogling is going to work:
- The people maintaining the search engine will have to work hard to keep it up to date, because new Haram websites and webpages are going up in the Internet every day. This is very similar to what the makers of antivirus software and porn filters like Netnanny have to deal with constantly.
- Some of the websurfers with the dirtiest minds live in Moslem countries. We already know that Pakistan leads the world in per capita porn searches. Therefore you know that some Moslems are not going to use the search engine, or find another way to get around it.
- It catches a lot of Haram stuff, but not everything. Just for fun I tried searching for Kevin Bacon, the actor, and nothing came back because of his last name. On the other hand, when I entered “xenohistorian,” several results came back from this blog and The Xenophile Historian, though I have openly said the websites are pro-Christian and pro-Israel. Should I feel bad that I haven’t been blocked? No wonder it is labeled as being in the Beta stage at this point.
Here is the link in case you’d like to try it out yourself: