That's the official story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7347476.stm
Highlights from the text above (to save you some time reading):
...as more and more predators use the web to ensnare children, "analysts were getting overwhelmed by all of the data they had to sift through..."
"...Since 2002 the NCMEC has pored over 13 million child sex abuse images and videos in an effort to help police identify and rescue children from harm..."
"...In the last year they have looked at five million pictures..."
"... Google engineers and scientists were able to work on the project on what the company calls "20% time", which allows all employees to dedicate that amount of time to projects they initiate..."
Now I will tell you what actually happened: A Google engineer was caught watching porn at work and came out with a lousy excuse that he is "developing some software to identify child porn. In his 20% spare time". So now they've got a nice project watching porn for 2 hours every day instead of work and snatching already available video analyzer code from other projects on the web (hint: google for "video analyzer pornography").
That's what truly happened. No kidding.
P.S. Jesus, I should ask Google to take me into that team... ;)
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