We told you a couple months ago about Nat & Lo, a couple of Googlers who are using their 20% time — unofficial allotted time for personal projects — to tell stories about the people at Google. Today, in their latest video, Nat & Lo explore the story of one Googler named Winnie who used her 20% time to spread her love for animals — specifically elephants, in this case…

Winnie noticed when she was poking around Google one day that many ads for real elephant ivory were making it through to Google search results. AdWords already has many filters in place to restrict the content that can make it to searchers’ eyeballs, but Winnie noticed that illegal animal products were one place that the filters weren’t very strong.

So for her 20% project, she worked with the engineers at Google Ads and Google Shopping to make sure these ads were blocked. The engineers created an algorithm that used certain words, their proximity to other words, and dozens of other factors, to guess whether or not an ad was trying to sell real elephant ivory or not. It seems to have worked.

Be sure to check out the video below:


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About the Author

Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.