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.

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