It the past few days Google has been on the warpath against spam sites showing up in search results and they are also rumored to be setting their sights on content farm types of sights alá Demand Media (you might want to reconsider buying shares after they go IPO).
Now we find out via TorrentFreak that Google has started censoring BitTorrent, RapidShare and other related types sites from search results. Initially it seems that they are just filtering piracy related terms from its ‘Autocomplete’ and ‘Instant’ services; and doing it without any fanfare whatsoever.
Without a public notice Google has compiled a seemingly arbitrary list of keywords for which auto-complete is no longer available. Although the impact of this decision does not currently affect full search results, it does send out a strong signal that Google is willing to censor its services proactively, and to an extent that is far greater than many expected.
Among the list of forbidden keywords are “uTorrent”, a hugely popular piece of entirely legal software and “BitTorrent”, a file transfer protocol and the name of San Fransisco based company BitTorrent Inc. As of today, these keywords will no longer be suggested by Google when you type in the first letter, nor will they show up in Google Instant.
All combinations of the word “torrent” are also completely banned. This means that “Ubuntu torrent” will not be suggested as a user types in Ubuntu, and the same happens to every other combination ending in the word torrent. This of course includes the titles of popular films and music albums, which is the purpose of Google’s banlist.
While this is only affecting two parts of your Google search it shows that the company has finally caved into the entertainment industry and as a result one has to wonder how long it will be before these filters are extended to the actual search results.
Not good Google, not good.