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WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  Technology Google caught in subtle censorship of piracy search terms
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Author Topic: Technology Google caught in subtle censorship of piracy search terms  (Read 753 times)

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Offline p2p rules

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Google has quietly started filtering out piracy-related search terms from its Autocomplete and Instant services, meaning the suggestive search boxes will no longer push users towards sites and communities that are notorious for piracy.

Start typing the first few letters of phrases like Bittorrent, uTorrent, RapidShare or Megaupload, and the search engine will refuse to suggest the full terms, or dynamically show search results through Google Instant. The site will still show the results if you type out the name in full, and click "search".

The search engine also avoids showing such terms directly after movies, games and albums. Previously, a search for Inception or Arcade Fire would be met with suggestions for "Inception Torrent" or "Arcade Fire Rapidshare" -- but not anymore. Curiously, Microsoft's Bing also filters similar terms in its search suggestions, but other search engines like Yahoo don't.

The list of soft-blocked terms is a little arbitrary, though. Hosting sites Megaupload and RapidShare are gone, but Mediafire and 4shared still show up in suggestions. Bittorrent application uTorrent is filtered, but BitComet stays.

Most sites and communities affected haven't welcomed the change. "We believe it was the wrong decision to remove the term 'RapidShare' from the search suggestions," the hosting website told TorrentFreak. "Every day hundreds of thousands of users rely on our services to pursue their perfectly legitimate interests."

Indeed: not every file hosted on Megaupload is a ripped DVD and not every torrent is a pirated album. But Google said late last year that "while it's hard to know for sure when search terms are being used to find infringing content, we'll do our best to prevent Autocomplete from displaying the terms most frequently used for that purpose."

While it may seem like a trivial form of censorship, and doesn't actively stop any users from getting to the content they desire, it does show Google's willingness to change its rules and regulations to satisfy the demands of the entertainment industry. Hopefully it's not the first misstep on what could be a very slippery slope.
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WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  Technology Google caught in subtle censorship of piracy search terms
 

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