Google begins censoring torrent queries in searches

Google took steps Thursday to honor a previous commitment to root out piracy in its searches, beginning to censor torrent searches from its Autocomplete and Instant functionality. The Mountain View, Calif. company's efforts don't seem perfect: several torrent searches still seemed to be available.

Among the terms apparently filtered out include popular clients BitTorrent and Rapidshare according to reports. On some built-in search functions in browsers such as Internet Explorer and Safari, the terms appear to have disappeared. Betanews was still able to search for specific torrents such as "windows xp torrent," however, and Google was still returning torrent links through Instant at least for our testers.

Standard searching appears not to be affected, thus these changes could be quite superficial without any real change to Google's search algorithms itself.

Regardless, the move will prove to be controversial. A BitTorrent spokesperson told TorrentFreak that its company name was 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," it said.

The company added that torrent search results do return "a variety" of legitimate results, and that it believes Google does not realize that our technology is used for many purposes that provide significant value to the technology industry, companies, artists and consumers at large."

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