New keyword comparison tool Yahoo! Clues excludes results for “gay”

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Yahoo's new keyword comparison tool Yahoo! Clues — which is just like Google Trends but a few years too late — is supposed to let you see and compare the popularity of search terms on the Internet. And yet, if you search for "gay," "sex," or "masturbation," the tool tells you that no data exists. As people who even have a passing familiarity with the internet can tell you, that is just not possible.

There are a few caveats to this news before you get outraged: Clues is still in the beta phase, and it does allow for terms like "lesbian" and "transgender," which makes it seem more confused than anything else. (Google Instant, you might recall, had the opposite problem: allowing "gay" but not "lesbian.") And while the impulse to protect children from harmful material on the internet is a good one, it's still troubling when a company gets to decide for us what is and is not objectionable.

Which brings me to my final point: what kid on Earth is going to be using a keyword comparison tool?