Skip to main content

Google Now Censoring BitTorrent, RapidShare

As promised weeks ago, Google is now actively censoring search terms such as "BitTorrent," "torrent," "utorrent," "RapidShare" and "Megaupload" from its instant and auto-complete services. The move to censorship arrives after feeling tremendous heat from the entertainment industry to filter "piracy related" terms from its search engine.

Although Google didn't make a formal public announcement, TorrentFreak reports that Google has compiled a list of keywords that no longer activates auto-complete. The contents of the list are unknown, and the current method of censorship does not currently effect full search results. However curious seekers can test the new filter by entering "BitTorrent" or other piracy-related words in the search window. The keyword "BitTorrent" does not appear when typing "Bitt"and doesn't appear in Google Instant.

The censorship also doesn't stop with just one keyword. As TorrentFreak points out, combinations are also banned. For example, the search term "Ubuntu torrent" will not be suggested as a user type in Ubuntu, nor will any other term coupled with the word "torrent." This obviously fights against those looking for "Avatar torrent," "One Night in Paris torrent," or other possible copyright infringing torrent downloads.

Obviously RapidShare isn't too pleased with the new filter. "We knew about Google’s plans for quite a few weeks now," the company said. "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."

BitTorrent's Simon Morris said that Google's filter was too broad. He pointed out that it doesn't cover other pirate-related terms like "The Pirate Bay" and "ISO Hunt."

"There’s no reason for Google to throttle search results for our trademarks, including BitTorrent, µTorrent and torrent," he said. "Indeed, they do still enable auto-complete for many third-party clients that use the BitTorrent protocol, including BitComet, BitLord, and even sites like The Pirate Bay and Isohunt."

Morris said the inclusion of Xunlei in the filter list is a little hypocritical since Google is one of the investors in the Chinese BitTorrent client. "Google did invest $5 million in the company in 2006, according to reports," he said. "We sincerely hope Google will recognize the value of BitTorrent and reevaluate this decision expeditiously."

To read the full report, head here.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • TheWhiteRose000
    But But, How will I find my Linux Mint Torrent.
  • applegetsmelaid
    This only affects those too lazy to type the entire word content of their intended search. Not a big deal.
  • misry
    Aren't the people most likely to use those terms probably the people who have a problem with auto-complete anyway?
  • Xaios
    A fellow I know released an album on the internet on the new year. Within 3 days of the release of the album, perhaps 8 or so of the results Google came up with weren't about a torrent or RapidShare link to download it illegally. There were literall THOUSANDS of illegal download links within 3 days of him posting the release. It was just shameful.
  • Grizely1
    Why does anyone even use Google anymore? I seriously wonder.
  • Anomalyx
    Title FAIL!
    There is NO censoring at all.
    This is journalism at its worst. Do not post false titles to draw people to articles. I expected better, Tom's...
  • senshu
    Still comes up for me in chrome. I type in "bit" and the first thing that instantly pops up is the full address for bittorrent. I've never even been there before, I use utorrent. =\
  • jsheridan
    why don't they just stop returning search results for those sites? no one really uses them for demos or videos or what legal manner people are claiming now-a-days.
  • icepick314

    it's not censoring...

    it's just the autocomplete that's taken out...

    Google is still the best torrent search engine...period!
  • spectrewind
    AnomalyxTitle FAIL!There is NO censoring at all.This is journalism at its worst. Do not post false titles to draw people to articles. I expected better, Tom's...