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Google Blacklists Some Piracy Terms in Instant, Autocomplete

Danny Goodwin
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Search terms like BitTorrent (and several other combinations of the word "torrent"), RapidShare, and Megaupload are among the new banned words in Google's Instant results and Autocomplete, as Google begins its crackdown on terms closely associated with piracy. However, this filter doesn't translate to Google's regular search results pages.

Obviously, not everyone is happy about this selective filtering, but it's nothing new. Google Instant has blacklisted terms related to pornography, violence, and hate speech to protect children, and a spokesman has said that blocking terms is "complex" and Google's system is "imperfect."

Here's what you get trying to search for bittorrent:

bitto-google.png

But if you type in the full name of bittorrent, Google Autocomplete and Instant turns back on:

bittorrent-search.png

Side note: [torrent] is bad but [torture game] is OK in Autocomplete. Remember, Google is all about protecting those children.

google-torture.png

Also, torrent programs are legal, even if they can be used illegally. Besides, Google owns a certain video site that can host plenty of material that Google doesn't own the copyrights for.

Simon Morris of Bittorrent told TorrentFreak that the scope of this filter is too broad.

"We respect Google's right to determine algorithms to deliver appropriate search results to user requests. That being said, our company's trademarked name is fairly unique, and we're pretty confident that anyone typing the first six or seven letters deserves the same easy access to results as with any other company search," Morris said.

As for selective enforcement, piracy-related terms such as BitComet, Vuze, 4shared, HotFile, MediaFire, and Pirate Bay aren't banned in Google Autocomplete.

Really, if somebody is looking to download some movies illegally online, will they most likely even search for Bittorrent or RapidShare if they don't know the name of the site? Or would they more likely look for [download movies] or [download music], two terms that aren't blocked in Autocomplete or Instant?

download-movies.png

Worst case, searchers now have to "Press Enter to search" to see Google's results for a few more terms.

Meanwhile, piracy will continue with or without Google.


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