Internet users who illegally download copyrighted media will have to work a little harder from now on.
Search giant Google said Thursday that it was adjusting the autocomplete feature on its search service so that it no longer includes piracy-related terms. That means searchers will have to type in the full name of their searches without getting any hints of popular file-sharing terms from Google’s algorithms.
The main targets are any words that have the word “torrent” in them, or other terms relating to downloading services such as Rapidshare, and Megaupload. Google users can still manually enter the search terms and get accurate results, but Google will no longer autocomplete the terms for them in the search bar.
Google outlined its intention in December to prevent terms closely associated with piracy from appearing in the autocomplete bar, following pressure from the entertainment industry that has been hard hit by online piracy.
Rapidshare, which is one of the most popular download sites, said that Google’s move discriminated against users who utilized the peer- to-peer network to disseminate information legally.
“Every day hundreds of thousands of users rely on our services to pursue their perfectly legitimate interests,” RapidShare said in a statement. “That is why Google has obviously gone too far with censoring the results of its suggest algorithm. A search engine’s results should reflect the users’ interests and not Google’s or anybody else’s.” BitTorrent, another popular download site, also protested the move.
“We respect Google’s right to determine algorithms to deliver appropriate search results to user requests,” Simon Morris, BitTorrent vice president of product management, told the website TorrentFreak. “That being said, our company’s trademarked name is fairly unique, and we’re pretty confident that anyone typing the first six or seven letters deserves the same easy access to results as with any other company search.”