Google censoring torrent sites like BitTorrent and Rapidshare

It’s a fine line between freedom on the web and piracy when it comes to torrents. The little files help exchange movies, music, software and much more. Sometimes it is a bit shady whether or not this is right or wrong, sometimes its obvious.

Google is now, starting today, actively censoring torrent terms. This is also aimed on sites and terms like BitTorrent, utorrent, RapidShare and Megaupload.

Google announced several weeks ago it would be actively filtering results which are ‘piracy related’ when it comes to Autocomplete and Instant. They have now started doing that. If you start typing “Torrent” for example, until the last letter it shows a blank page and no suggestions.

The search results don’t seem to be affected at first, but if you look closer you’ll see that Google did remove some results based on copyright claims. Below the search for a “lady gaga torrent” it says:

In the torrent industry not everybody is happy about this. RapidShare told Torrentfreak:

“We knew about Google’s plans for quite a few weeks now. 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. We believe it was the wrong decision to remove the term ‘RapidShare’ from the search suggestions”

The move supposedly comes from the pressure Google is feeling from copyright activists and entertainment industries including the MPAA and RIAA.

More on this on Torrentfreak

Bas van den Beld

About Bas van den Beld

Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.

4 thoughts on “Google censoring torrent sites like BitTorrent and Rapidshare

  1. I think we can all abandon the fantasy that Google “always has the best interests of its users in mind”. This is pure corporate censorship, nothing less. If Google is so eagerly bending over and taking it from the entertainment industry, who knows what’s next? Can you really trust their SERPs any more to give you what you’re really looking for? No – Google will give you what their corporate stakeholders have approved.

  2. Hey Bas,

    Thanks for this! I find this one particularly interesting and I know I’m going to annoy a few people here who are all about keeping the net open and so forth… but I personally don’t see this as a “censorship” issue. It is not necessarily a great start/precedent for things to come for those who are in favour of file sharing and so forth, however it’s hardly as bad as many people seem to think.

    At the end of the day it does mean that Google is keeping these results out of instant to a certain extent, however when you type the term all the way in (I tried this AM with “family guy torrent”) once you hit the “t” at the end it begins to show results and, obviously, if you hit enter like we used to have to do in the good old days it still shows the results for these searches.

    It is certainly an interesting move but it doesn’t really change anything in terms of pre-instant standards and just means typing a few extra letters and perhaps hitting enter to get the results.

    Whether or not this is a sign of things to come… well that’s a separate issue.

    Cheers guys!

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