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.