As part of several initiatives being brought forward today, which is Safer Internet Day, Google will expand its SafeSearch settings in Google Image Search and will automatically blur explicit imagery even when SafeSearch isn’t turned on.
Google says that this new setting will be the new default for users who don’t already have the SafeSearch filter turned on, but it can be adjusted in personal account settings at any time. SafeSearch is already the default for any signed-in user under the age of 18.
“When it comes to kids and families using our platforms, we know keeping them safe is a priority. That’s why we’ve invested in building experiences that align with kids’ and teens’ developmental stages and needs,” Google explains.
“We also offer tools that give families the power to manage their relationship with technology, like Family Link, which allows parents to monitor their children’s online activity, set screen time limits, apply content restrictions and more. Building on this work, today we’re introducing new initiatives and tools.”
SafeSearch is designed to blur not only nudity or explicitly sexual imagery but also overly violent images and gore. Google tells The Verge that this feature isn’t live now, but it will roll out sometime in the coming months.
This feature will join other security initiatives that Google will add to its platforms, including updates to Google Password Manager, the addition of virtual card numbers (which create unique numbers for online transactions), and additional privacy protection for the Google app on iOS. Google says it already protects Gmail users from nearly 15 billion unwanted messages a day, which is about 99.9% of spam, phishing, and malware.
“Beyond traditional cybersecurity, online safety also means keeping your personal information and online activity not only secure, but suited to your own preferences. That’s why we prioritize your privacy in our products and services, putting you in control so that you can customize settings based on what works best for you,” the company says.
How SafeSearch works and the methods users can take to adjust it to their liking can be found on Google’s support page.
Image credits: Google