Quickie Google Search Lays Out "Brothels"
Source: - Yahoo News
What do the University of Oregon's history department in Eugene, Ore.; the Happy Ending bar in Manhattan; and the Abstinence Clearinghouse in Sioux Falls, S.D. have in common?
American users who enter their Zip codes in the search field at Google Maps, then type in "brothel" (without the quotation marks) are shown a map with various business and organizations identified as, yes, bordellos.
Zip code searches for 97405, 10012, and 57103 returned, among other retail and, ahem, "service" related businesses, the three in Oregon, New York, and South Dakota, respectively.
Leslee Unruh, the president of Abstinence Clearinghouse, an organization that connects advocates of abstinence before marriage, was more than taken aback by the labeling of her office as a bawdyhouse.
"This isn't accidental," she claimed. "I think this is deliberate. Abstinence is under fire, we're under siege. Our opponents are trying to discredit the largest organization in the world that networks abstinence educators."
Unruh also claimed that when she recently Googled her name, the first link was to an atheist organization. When TechWeb entered her name in Google, however, it was unable to confirm her allegation. Rather, the first Google "hit" was a link to a recent story done by Minnesota Public Radio on a 2003 campaign in South Dakota for the "Plan B" contraception pill.
Unruh also said that while the "brothel" label was news to her, it explained some odd behavior she and others in her office have seen.
"We've been seeing some strange men stopping by the office," she said. "They're clearly looking for something. If they're traveling and using Google, maybe they think we're." she said, but didn't finish. "We're right off the Interstate."
"I'd love to know what's going on," she said. "Although we do have a red lamp near the window. I told my staff, 'we have to get that out of there.'"
Google did not return a call for comment on why its Maps service lists brothels, or what causes some businesses and organizations to be labeled as cathouses.