Google adds more sites to Autocomplete blacklist

By on November 24, 2011, 7:30 AM

Earlier this year, Google quietly began blocking filesharing-related search terms from certain features. Queries such as "BitTorrent," "RapidShare," and "Megaupload" still produced valid results if you completed a full search, but disappeared from the company's Autocomplete and Instant search services. The former provides you search recommendations below the text box when you type, while the latter displays results as you enter your query.

Google has since expanded its censorship program to include many other popular filesharing sites, according to TorrentFreak. Searches including "thepiratebay," "the pirate bay," "isohunt," "torrentreactor," "btjunkie," "kickasstorrents," "sumotorrent," "btmon," "extratorrent" and more are now being blocked in Autocomplete. Interestingly, "" and "pirate bay" are still visible, so it seems the filter isn't all-encompassing -- yet, anyway.

Again, to be clear, results for those terms aren't blocked on full searches, just Autocomplete and in some cases, Instant searches. This won't affect most users who already know where they're going, but it can dent overall traffic levels. TorrentFreak draws attention to a graph that shows a rapid decline in Hotfile searches after it was censored in January. There is an understandable push to reduce Web piracy, but Google's actions affect real businesses.

Companies BitTorrent and RapidShare are completely legitimate operations. RapidShare decried Google's decision earlier this year, saying the company had "obviously gone too far." A similar message is being echoed by sites affected this time around. "It's a lot more subtle than the censorship attempts made possible by the pending PROTECT IP and SOPA bills, but it's still censorship and it starts small. Google is increasingly becoming a self-righteous Big Brother of the Web. So much for 'Do no evil'," IsoHunt founder Gary Fung told TorrentFreak.

The ever-vocal folks behind The Pirate Bay have also chimed in, saying this is "just another step towards censoring their search engine altogether -- without a legal basis. We're also wondering why this happens at almost the same time as they've released Google Music -- a service where they sell music which in some cases might be found on The Pirate Bay." Is Google just doing the entertainment industry's dirty work, or is this a valiant effort to combat piracy?

User Comments: 11

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caravel said:

At both and, the string "pi" autocompletes to four matches, the first is "pirate bay"... so censoring "the pirate bay" is not the most affective censorship.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

Google is still trying to control the flow, regardless of how poorly implemented it is. Glad I use SW iron..

Guest said:

Time to use a different search engine.

Guest said:

Don't worry, when Google fails to find what you search for just use another search engine.

Guest said:

"Don't worry, when Google fails to find what you search for just use another search engine."

Such as? Until now Google was the one returning results people want

superty12 superty12 said:

Such as, (search.)Yahoo(.com), bing(.com).

........ Changing Search Engine in 3, 2, 1 ..........

........ Search Engine Change Complete (Yahoo)........

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You know, I was really ambivalent about having them type for me in the first place.

I say, "athlete's foot" to Google........!

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

+1 CC

Or you could be held 'hostage' to their evil desires.

caravel said:

The fact that every letter of the alphabet typed into google's autocomplete almost always returns the name of a company makes it clear as to what it's really all about anyway.

jarulezz said:

they are just trying to earn more money, which is the business' objective... fair enough

but doing it at the public's cost will make google less popular

im guessing, soon there will be a new search engine that started out like google, but it will never reach the scale of google.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Seems like a paradox anyway. You search on Google for pirated material, and you wind up getting a s*** load of ads, and the Google redirect virus. Screw the endless ethical argument. It's enough to make you want to buy software, rent DVDs and change your search engine. On DVD you bypass the ads by hitting, "menu".

On the other hand, Adobe software comes with adware preinstalled, they call it "adobeupdater.exe"....! Then there's the tracking software, "FNPlicensingservice.exe"

Brings to mind the wisdom of Bob Dylan, "There must be some way out of here, said the joker to the thief". Sorry to report, there isn't

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