Early adopters of Google’s Nexus One phone just can’t catch a break. First, some of them overpaid. Then customers reported iffy 3G connectivity. And at least one had problems getting a dead phone replaced. It’s enough to make you scream obscenities at your phone. Don’t bother. Google has included an odd feature as part of the phone’s voice-to-text function: When it transcribes your speech, it automatically censors any curse words you utter. F*&k!
Reuters was first on the scene, and commented that “the phone is a bit of a prig.”
Try uttering a curse word into the Nexus One, and the well-mannered device will automatically replace the offensive expression with a string of # symbols.
Thus, a jocular text message inquiring about a buddy’s whereabouts is transcribed as “Hey #### where are you?” on the Nexus One; A spirited rejoinder to a dubious assertion becomes “that’s bull #### and you know it.”
Reuters spoke to Google, and the company responded in a statement that the enforced bowdlerization was indeed intentional:
“We filter potentially offensive or inappropriate results because we want to avoid situations whereby we might misrecognize a spoken query and return profanity when, in fact, the user said something completely innocent,” said Google.
“Ultimately our goal is to return results that show exactly what you said, and we’re constantly working to improve the technology to better fit our users’ needs,” the statement continued.
Until the technology improves, if you want to send a text message about that f*&king awesome band you saw, or call bulls&#t on a bogus informercial, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way, with your fingers. Just not the middle one; we hear Google has a way to block that too.