We can type and say whatever we want, but if you are hoping that your smartphone’s keyboard will facilitate certain “bad” things you are saying, think again. According to research Jane Manchun Wong, she has discovered that Google has updated its Gboard app where the app’s autocorrect feature will now block certain choice phrases related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to Wong’s discovery, this includes phrases such as “China disease”, “China virus”, “Chinese disease”, “Chinese virus”, “Asia disease”, “Asia virus”, and “virus”. What this means is that if users want to type those words, they are more than welcome to, but don’t expect Google to autocorrect it for you.
Gboard included COVID19-related phrases to its “Emergency Bad Words” list pic.twitter.com/XPNyXGMIHM
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 25, 2020
This is not the first time that Google’s Gboard has blocked certain words or phrases from appearing in autocorrect. The company’s keyboard app has in the past blocked terms that are sexual or racist in nature, which we imagine that’s what they’re trying to do with this latest update now.
For those wondering what the big deal is, the COVID-19 virus first appeared in China. This has led to some politicians labelling it as the “China virus” or other terms that suggests that it is of Asian origin. As a result, there have been several reported cases of people of Asian descent being targeted in hate and racist-fueled attacks.