Asking Google “how to tell if you should…” returning suicide prevention links

Update April 30, 2022 – Pocketables should not come up when looking for help on suicide prevention. Please visit and take care of yourself ok?

This was an article about Google being screwy in 2019. Really though, take care of yourself.

I first heard of this when someone posted a Google search result last night for “how to tell if you’re running jdk or jre” – this is a question to identify whether you’re using the Java Development Kit, or the Java Runtime Environment.

What it probably should not return is the suicide crisis helpline as the number one result. Or perhaps it should depending on what your level of Java immersion is.

Suicide JRE JDK results - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

Asking whether you should use PERL or PHP for an application similarly gives a first result of the suicide hotline.

SP Perl or PHP - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

The suicide hotline contact appears to be local for whatever country you’re located in when you search.

C sharp or Basic - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

C# or Basic, Pascal or C, or my current favorite “php or a hunk of cheese”

cheese - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

It appears (as of ~2am EST, yes, been reading late,) that anything with “how to tell if you should” at the start of a query is currently returning first position advertisements for suicide prevention hotlines.

Fairly interesting pushed search result. Do not believe it was returning this a few days ago, but probably should be addressed by Google as it doesn’t appear to be relevant to most searches that start with “how to tell if you should”…

Just things that keep me up at night.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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