Google is finished rolling out its new SafeSearch feature that blurs explicit imagery, such as violent or sexual photos, by default. The company announced back in February that it would be rolling out the change later this year, and has now confirmed in a blog post that it is available to everyone.
The filter is designed to help people protect themselves and their families from inadvertently encountering explicit imagery on Search. The setting is the new default for people who don’t already have the SafeSearch filter turned on. As a result, Google will blur explicit imagery if it appears in Search results. Explicit results include sexually explicit content like pornography, violence and gore. Users have the option to adjust the setting at any time.
Once the setting becomes the default, Google will notify you that it has turned on SafeSearch blurring. If you come across an explicit image, you can choose to see it by clicking on the “view image” button. Or, you can select the “manage setting” button to adjust the filter or turn it off altogether.
SafeSearch only works on Google search results and it won’t block explicit content you find on other search engines or websites that you go to directly.
Google initially turned on SafeSearch by default for signed-in users under 18 in August 2021 around the same time when Congress pressed Google and other tech companies on the negative impacts their services may have on children.
The change comes as Google introduced a few new Search updates earlier this month that are designed to help users stay in control of their personal information, privacy and online safety. The company made it easier for users to find and remove results about themselves, and also updated its policies on personal explicit images to remove this content from Search.