Tuesday September 11th, 2012 informationliberation.com
Google Adds Pirate Bay Domains to Censorship List (TorrentFreak)
Google has quietly expanded its list of censored search phrases with the addition of The Pirate Bay’s domain names. The blacklist prevents popular keywords from appearing in Google’s Instant and Autocomplete search services, while the pages themselves remain indexed. Although Google understands that there is no silver bullet to stop online copyright infringement, the search giant is convinced that the steps they've taken could help to decrease piracy.

There are certain words Google doesn’t want you to see without explicitly searching for them.

Type in ‘peni…’ or ‘vagin…’ and the search giant leaves out the most obvious suggestions. This, despite the fact that these dictionary words are popular searches among the public.

Since January last year Google has been applying the same moral compass to filter "piracy-related” terms from its Autocomplete and Instant services.

Google users who search for terms like "utorrent", "BitTorrent" or "RapidShare" will notice that no suggestions or search results will be shown before they finish typing the full word.

By censoring parts of their search services, Google is sending out a strong signal that they are committed to combating online copyright infringement, and to a certain degree their efforts are effective.

When terms such as BitTorrent, Mediafire and Megaupload were banned we saw that the number of searches dropped drastically. The same happened when ‘The Pirate Bay’ got censored last year, although many people simply switched to then uncensored domain thepiratebay.org as a shortcut to access their favorite torrent site.

However, since last month thepiratebay.org was also added to the blacklist, as well as thepiratebay.se. When people type in ‘thepirate’ the two domains are no longer offered as a suggestion. As a direct result, the search volume for these terms dropped instantly.

No Pirate Bay (c.f. Bing!)

The Pirate Bay is used to being censored by now and shrugs off the censorship attempts.

A Pirate Bay spokesperson told TorrentFreak that they are not in the least bit hurt by Google's “half-baked” attempts to keep people away from their site. They haven't noticed a decrease in referrers from Google, and even if that was the case it wouldn't be a problem as only a tiny percentage of The Pirate Bay's traffic comes from search engines.

Google disagrees, and firmly believes that the measures are effective in decreasing piracy. The company is not trying to prevent Pirate Bay users from accessing the site, but they don’t want to suggest it to people who only type in ‘the’ into the search bar either.

"While there is no silver bullet for infringement online, this measure is one of several that we have implemented to curb copyright infringement online," a Google’s spokesman told TorrentFreak previously.

Besides censoring piracy related terms, last month Google began downranking ‘pirate’ websites in its search results. Although we’ve seen some changes in the search results, the effects of this update don’t appear to have had a dramatic impact.

The big question is, where will Google draw the line?