Google has gone all sheep like on us. It is following the anti-piracy crowd and has started to shear, sorry block, certain 'piracy-related' terms from its instant search suggestions.
From now on people searching for words such as "bittorrent," "torrent," "rapidshare," "megaupload," or "utorrent" will lead to a blank page. There will also be no auto-completion suggestions. This is going to be a nightmare for Googlers who will have to spend the extra half a second finishing a word and hitting enter.
Google began considerations a month ago. However, it could be that its hand was forced, or greased, by the US' MPAA and RIAA.
In December we reported that the US clicked its all powerful fingers at Sweden. It was revealed in Wikileaks diplomatic cables that it demanded Sweden close down the Pirate Bay and other similar sites or suffer the consequences.
Google already blocked naughty words in its instant search. Bizarrely gossip news outlet Popbitch found its way onto the ban list. Will it catch legitimate news sources that report on torrents?
It seems Google could have a way to go. Although it has blocked these terms from its instant search results, it still displays the search results for any of the terms. Searching for terms such as 'the pirate bay,' or others like 'mediafire' will still work.
Unsurprisingly those affected are not pleased. "There’s no reason for Google to throttle search results for our trademarks, including BitTorrent, µTorrent and torrent. Indeed, they do still enable autocomplete for many third-party clients that use the BitTorrent protocol, including BitComet, BitLord, and even sites like The Pirate Bay and Isohunt," BitTorrent’s Simon Morris told TorrentFreak.
RapidShare also laid out its two pence, claiming that people search for the term to
"pursue their perfectly legitimate interests."
"A search engine’s results should reflect the users’ interests and not Google’s or anybody else’s," the company said.