Google starts censoring torrent-related searches

By on January 26, 2011, 6:14 PM
Google has quietly begun filtering terms related to filesharing from its Autocomplete and Instant search features, according to TorrentFreak. Among the many forbidden queries are "uTorrent", "BitTorrent", "RapidShare", "Megaupload", and seemingly any word combined with "torrent". To clarify again, these terms are blocked from Google's Autocomplete and Instant search services, but you can still perform a full search for "banned" words and receive proper results.

Naturally, the companies and services that have been removed from Google's instant searches are angry. "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," said Simon Morris of BitTorrent Inc.


RapidShare also shared its sentiments. "We embrace that certain search suggestions will not put a wrong complexion on RapidShare anymore, but we are concerned that at the same time the legitimate interests of our users will also be affected," the service said. "RapidShare is one of the most popular websites worldwide. Every day hundreds of thousands of users rely on our services to pursue their perfectly legitimate interests…Google has obviously gone too far."

The change shouldn't significantly affect your daily browsing, but it shows that Google will serve the entertainment industry when pressured and it's only fair to question how far the company is willing to go. TorrentFreak also notes that the current blacklist appears somewhat random. Although uTorrent and Xunlei are excluded from results, BitComet and Vuze aren't. Likewise, other filesharing sites such as The Pirate Bay, 4shared, HotFile and MediaFire are still visible.




User Comments: 49

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princeton princeton said:

"The Pirate Bay....still visible" Well then I'm all set :P

Guest said:

Got to adore censorship.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Won't affect me but I don't like the fact that they're doing this. What's to stop them from censoring other anything they don't agree with.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

man...I woke up this morning thinking I was in America...apparently we're in China now, lol. But I guess it aint too bad (for now). At least we can still search for them.

As for Rapid Share, that one does surprise me. There is a lot of legitimate stuff that goes through Rapid Share. I did use RS for a while to distribute programs till I found out about drop.io, but then Facebook bought it out and shut it down (BOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! BASTARDS!) so now i'm back to Rapid Share.

treeski treeski said:

Yeah I think this is pretty lame. Google shouldn't be censoring any search results.

aj_the_kidd said:

If its just for Autocomplete and Instant search then i really have no problem, would be better if you had that the option to filer it out though. Will be interested to see what they will try to filter next

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

actually i'm glad about this. it was kinda getting annoying having to keep putting in -torrent while searching for stuff on google. besides, all this will potentially do is filter out first time torrenters, maybe.

Guest said:

Actually there is a recent article on PC World 'Google Comes Under Fire for 'Secret' Relationship with NSA'. The Google spokeswoman is obviously compartmentalized and clueless to what the real decision makers in Google are doing. Both Google and NSA will deny this but won't produce any real evidence to anyone that would debunk this theory.

Guest said:

I suppose it's come to this. Some step must be taken to protect all the people that put in the work to create the music, movie, and software.

Cota Cota said:

hmmmmmm i cant get to utorrent.com because i cant google it, DAM IT!

Really?

Guest said:

Welcome to the United States of China.

Guest said:

Gratz Google.. I will replace my phone.. browser... and Search engine for now on. FU google.

p51d007 said:

Gee, like you can't find a billion other torrent search sites on the web?

Heck, I've gotten to where I only use google as my LAST resort, when searching for something.

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

Welcome to the United States of China.

This made me laugh.

Guest said:

"Bing"! "Bing"!

Guest said:

Welcome to the United States of China.
May be Iran ? :D

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Cota said:

hmmmmmm i cant get to utorrent.com because i cant google it, DAM IT!

Really?

No, you can still google it, it just won't come up in auto-complete. That's something people need to realize. The search itself isn't filtered, it's just not showing up in auto-complete.

Guest said:

The corporate arguments and divergent philosophies about just how "neutral" the internet will be is going to become one big pissing match.

Content providers don't believe they should pay the ISP for the ability to provide said content on the ISP's wires because they already pay a fee for the bandwidth they use.

ISP's say they should be able to charge content providers for allowing them to provide content because it competes with their own and without them there would be no connection for them to provide content on.

ISP's that want to QOS traffic to their desires, as they see fit, while content providers and search engines argue that all traffic should be treated equally.

So, if a torrent site is a content provider is it fair that they're traffic is being treated differently by a search engine?

It wasn't when Comcast as an ISP tried to block it.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/court-rejects-fcc-auth
rity-over-internet

What torrent site is going to challenge Google on this? Probably none.

Give human beings enough time and they will destroy anything.

Cota Cota said:

matrix86 said:

Cota said:

hmmmmmm i cant get to utorrent.com because i cant google it, DAM IT!

Really?

No, you can still google it, it just won't come up in auto-complete. That's something people need to realize. The search itself isn't filtered, it's just not showing up in auto-complete.

*Puts a big sign saying "SARCASM"* :P

Guest said:

Well no matter what i dont feel Google should be able to filter anything. Its ok to filter a torrent site but when you search up stuff like drugs and killing thats not filtered at all. Far as i am concerned google can kiss ***. I have been using a different search provider for the past year and thats just another reason i would never use google . FU Google

freedomthinker said:

F*** google ;] Go Bing ! Its the new way to go !

yRaz yRaz said:

wow, I'm actually going to have to hit the search button....

63Jax said:

all praises to Demonoid and Pirate Bay! **** Google i'll switch to Bing then.

Guest said:

step in the right direction.

but it won't do much to stop habitual thieves.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

Autocomplete saves you maybe a fraction of a second when you're doing a Google search. Just type the whole word or phrase unless you're too lazy or can't spell whatever it is that you're searching for.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Welcome to the United States of China.
May be Iran ?

I don't they do stoning in the US outside the context of cannabis abuse...

It aint really a big deal from Google if you can still get the search "the original way"...hardly a ban in my eyes.

Guest said:

Ahh well, not a step in the right direction.

A lot of sites are censored from the auto complete feature and have been for ages...

Try pornhub for example..

Which means to me google take masturbation a lot more seriously than internet piracy :)

Guest said:

Well time to say **** google and use bing as much as i hate to say it.

Pirate bay is under investigation dont download from their.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

You guys really are a bunch of cry babies. "Boo-hoo,,,Google won't put my torrent sites in autocomplete and i'm gonna have to actually hit enter or press the search button, boo-hoo." Get over yourselves you bunch of lazy dimwits. Seriously. This is no reason to say "f*ck Google, i'm going to a different search engine." Your inquiry isn't blocked from Google completely. You just have to not be lazy and simply press enter or click the search button.

Guest said:

matrix86: The point isn't that we can't still get to the information, the issue is that this is probably just the beginning of more to come... Maybe the 6000 new Google hires are going to be a part of a new censorship team? :)

yRaz yRaz said:

Guest said:

matrix86: The point isn't that we can't still get to the information, the issue is that this is probably just the beginning of more to come... Maybe the 6000 new Google hires are going to be a part of a new censorship team?

This isn't a big deal AT ALL. This has been going on for years, but as soon as it is the word "torrent" that is blocked every pirate has to stop using google. Google blocked torrents on there quick search so now I have to sell my android phone and switch back to firefox....geez.....wow, I don't know HOW I will ever live with that word blocked from a feature I never used....

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

matrix86: The point isn't that we can't still get to the information, the issue is that this is probably just the beginning of more to come... Maybe the 6000 new Google hires are going to be a part of a new censorship team?

Google won't go all out for censorship. The more censorship it puts on it's real searches, is just going to lead to more censored people who will find another search engine to use (like maybe Bing?)

People looking for torrents is a big piece of the pie that i wouldn't think Google would like to let go of.

Guest said:

Didn't see YouTube in that list of banned names.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

While more of a symbolic gesture than real censorship, I'm still finding this to be a slippery slope for Google to go down. Time will tell if the content industry puts pressure on them for more then just removing 'instant searches'.

Guest said:

lol, here's a thought,

what if I decide to post (on sites like these) word 'torrent'

will that be enough to exclude this whole page from google search results?!

ain't that a powerful tool! :]

posting it on every facebook page, blog, forum...

google just made a virtual gun so you can kill some virtual lives :D

by BaluX

Guest said:

I've been in china for a while and so many terms are censored, so get use to it, cause its starts with something like this then they block anything that their don't like or the government tell them to block.

again welcome to the United States of China.

Mizzou Mizzou said:

While more of a symbolic gesture than real censorship, I'm still finding this to be a slippery slope for Google to go down. Time will tell if the content industry puts pressure on them for more then just removing 'instant searches'.

Basically, Google wants to play in the mobile sector and probably has aspirations beyond that; so they have to play ball with the content providers ... even though this is a token effort. They're not the first to cave on this issue and certainly won't be the last (IMO).

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wait wasn't it google b*tching about censorship in China? And now they do this? Ok it's not a big deal because it's not filtering actual search results but I can see it being a slippery slope.

Emin3nce said:

Google: China we think your censorship is bad.

China: Google, we think your censorship is bad.

BOOYA FUCKHEADS!

aj_the_kidd said:

Theres quite a big difference between the censorship that china has in placed as opposed to the quasi censorship that google is using on its Autocomplete and Instant search.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I knew all that anti-censorship crap from Google.cn was a load of BS... Judging by their record of censorship with youtube, however, I can't say I am a bit surprised. Google is a lapdog just like everyone else, they just won't admit it.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Mizzou said:

While more of a symbolic gesture than real censorship, I'm still finding this to be a slippery slope for Google to go down. Time will tell if the content industry puts pressure on them for more then just removing 'instant searches'.

Basically, Google wants to play in the mobile sector and probably has aspirations beyond that; so they have to play ball with the content providers ... even though this is a token effort. They're not the first to cave on this issue and certainly won't be the last (IMO).

Agreed, they've been slowly falling in-line with all the other "big boys" and I'm not to surprised. I just hope they stick with token efforts and don't actually undermine the principles that made them who they are today.

Guest said:

Relax guys, It's only the AutoComplete feature which is affected by this change :P

Guest said:

i tried it just now...

i typed "kid rock torret"

and google said

did you mean kid rock torrent?

and it showed links to isohunt, piratebay, etc...

they can't kill torrents as long as there are seeders like me!!!!

MilwaukeeMike said:

Wow, never underestimate the ability of an uneducated person to glance at a headline and draw whatever conclusion best fits their imagination. You guys are a politician's dream.

Complaining that this is Chinese censorship is like visiting a 3rd world country where people are dying from malnutruition and saying how you're 'starving' because you only had 1 bowl of cereal this morning and havne't eaten in 4 hours.

We are spoiled beyond comprehension to the a lot of the world.

Edito Edito said:

That's why Bing and other search engines will kick they're asses you just wait Google they are watching you...

Guest said:

Waths The **** ??? Censored ?? May be we must all pay for licensed win - office and films ?

I leave in Ukraine and NEVER pay for Windows ! Its the start of world occupation on FREEDOM !!!

Guest said:

My question is why? It's just a search. If I can't find what I'm looking for using Google. Then I just stray to another search engine.

http://www.mamma.com

http://www.dogpile.com

And forbid if I have to stray to http://www.bing.com

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