Nexus-4-Kitkat-AH

Want to Text About Geeks and Pregnancy? Android 4.4 Kit Kat Says ‘Think Again’

December 3, 2013 - Written By Eric Abent

Words are funny things, when you think about it. Many of us have our favorites, while some others have their own internal banlist – words they simply will not say, due to the fact that they’re either offensive or just unpleasant. Android users around the world are probably already familiar with Android’s own banlist; Google Keyboard offers no shortage of nonsensical replacements when you try to type some of the English language’s more colorful phrases (let’s be real: we’ve all had Google suggest we meant “duck” when we clearly meant something wildly different). While it’s obvious that swear words are an absolute no-go under Google Keyboard’s default settings, Wired is now reporting that the list of words Android 4.4 Kit Kat isn’t cool with is more expansive than any of us probably expected.

For instance, did you know that “geek” is a dirty word in the eyes of Android 4.4? Expecting your first child and want to let the world know? Good luck trying to type the word “preggers” and getting away with it – though, to be fair, that probably shouldn’t count as a word in the first place. Don’t expect to be talking about your underwear or your child’s feeding schedule any time soon, as “panty,” “braless,” and “lactation” are also banned. Discuss the Nazis all you want, but “Klansmen” – nay, “supremacists” of any nature – are off-limits.

While you won’t be able to tell your friends that you’re hooked up to a morphine drip after trying to make that ill-advised parkour video, the words “bong” and “marijuana” are surprisingly allowed. Perhaps the most baffling banned item on the list is “LSAT.” Aside from Google hating lawyers, we can’t think of a reason to exclude this specific abbreviation. “Lovemaking” and “condom” are also no-gos, because someone apparently needs to think of the children.

In all, Android 4.4’s list of unacceptable words tops 1,400 items, which is impressive to say the least. Just think: there’s a group of people out there who believe that this many words need to be censored. You can, of course, turn off Google Keyboard’s filter by changing the default settings, and you’re free to add whatever you want to the dictionary. Still, banning words like “geek” and “lactation” strikes us as particularly silly, and we’re not the only ones. Electronic Frontier Foundation spokesperson Jillian York told Wired, “I try to Swype-type the word ‘condom’ and I get ‘condition’ or ‘confusion.’ There is no context in which that makes any sense. Grow up, Android.”

When pressed for an explanation, Google didn’t tell Wired why it bans certain words. We’re not surprised the company kept silent, because to us, it doesn’t seem like there’d be a rational excuse for banning some of these words. For now, though, it looks like we’re better off disabling the filter instead of letting Google replace our unsavory text with things that go “quack.”