Google Tries to Make It Harder to Download Illegally

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Photo: Torrent Freak

Under Larry Page, "Google 3.0" has made its willingness to change clear. It's trying to shed its bureaucracy to mimic the nimble days of its youth and tweaking its search algorithm to weed out spam from content farms. But its latest move is designed less to create the next Gmail or offer users better results and more to appease the entertainment industry. Bowing to pressure from the MPAA and RIAA, users who search for BitTorrent, torrent, utorrent, RapidShare, and Megaupload won't find them in Google Instant or its autocomplete feature. From now on, if you want to illegally download back seasons of Gossip Girl, you'll have to type in the entire search terms and hit enter. Seems like sort of a half-assed concession to us, especially considering popular BitTorrent clients like the Pirate Bay, BitComet, and Vuze aren't on their hit list. But the pirates are up in arms.

RapidShare, one of the censored companies, pointed out that thousands of people use the site for perfectly legal file-sharing, telling Torrent Freak, "A search engine’s results should reflect the users’ interests and not Google’s or anybody else’s.” Vodo founder Jamie King took it a step further:

“I guess it’s simple: our favorite search monopoly cares less about helping the thousands of independent creators who use BitTorrent to distribute legal, free-to-share content than they do about protecting the interests of Big Media in its death throes.”

Maybe Google will end up employing the same strategy it did in China and eventually decide censorship isn't the best way to follow through with that don't-be-evil shtick.

Google Starts Censoring BitTorrent, RapidShare and More [Torrent Freak]
Larry Page's Google 3.0 [BusinessWeek]
Google flips the switch on autocomplete censorship [Ars Technica]