The New York Times has a recent article about Koogle, a search engine designed for Orthodox Jews, which allows them to avoid religiously objectionable content (such as pictures of women which are deemed not sufficiently modest). I tried to test it out by entering “Britney Spears” into what may have been the search window, but I only got an error. Maybe because the site is all in Hebrew, and I probably put the query in the wrong place. Or maybe the entire idea of Britney Spears causes Koogle’s electronic brain to explode.
The story made me wonder — would there be a market (a mormarket?) for a Moogle (Mormoogle?) engine? And would that be a good thing? On the one hand, church members, as a group, are probably interested in avoiding — err, certain parts of the internet. A Moogle engine could allow members to search for topics while avoiding anti-Mormon sites, as well as the many sites which peddle pernicious prawnography.
On the other hand, some tools already exist. One can search Mormon topics at places like Onlymormon and avoid websites that are particularly critical of the church; one can turn on Google’s safesearch tool to filter explicit images (though the ones that get past safesearch can be pretty scandalous too!). With tools like these available, is Moogle necessary? At worst, Moogle might become an online ghetto of sorts for Mormons — and is it really a good thing if the internet is divided into so many gated communities?
And of course, there are the ubiquitous questions on who decides what is objectionable. Is a Boticelli painting (or a Rodin sculpture) problematic? Should LDS blogs be included in the search? (If so, which?)
Would you use Moogle?