October 09, 2007

Microsoft HealthVault and Porn

Greetings. It looks like Microsoft may already have some significant quality problems with their heavily hyped HealthVault.

I received an e-mail last night from a reader who was disgusted to find that some completely valid queries to the HealthVault search engine -- mentioning bodily parts or bodily functions -- returned extremely high percentages (sometimes almost 100%) of porn keyword "sucker" pages (porn pages that have been "seeded" with all manner of likely keywords). I won't offer example search strings here in the interests of good taste, but I've confirmed this situation myself.

In fact, this person noted getting masses of porn results starting with their very first HealthVault search. They were stunned that Microsoft's quality control and presumed filtering of results for health relevance were so defective on a highly touted health-specific search engine deployed for the general public. I agree.

For comparison purposes, a test of the same searches on Google also yielded a lot of porn hits, but overall more relevant hits were returned, and Google isn't promoting their main search engine as having a health focus.

There is a potential bright side to this situation. I'm all in favor of using encryption whenever possible on the Net, and HealthVault uses SSL crypto for searches in both directions. So finally there's a way to search for porn on the Net with better privacy!

All Microsoft needs to do now is simply rebrand their service as "PornVault" -- now that's a winner.


Posted by Lauren at October 9, 2007 09:19 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein