Google today began restricting how piracy-associated terms are displayed in its search results. This comes after a December policy announcement by Google General Counsel Kent Walker indicating that the world’s most popular search engine would implement a strategy to deter piracy.
With today’s action, certain piracy-associated terms — such as permutations of the word “torrent” or company names such as RapidShare and Magaupload — will be eliminated from the Google’s Autocomplete tools, a service that predicts and displays results before typing is completed.
Reaction to the new policy was mixed with impacted businesses decrying the new policy as discriminatory. “We respect Google’s right to determine algorithms to deliver appropriate search results to user requests,” Simon Morris, BitTorrent VP of product management, told 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.”
In December, when Google first announced four new policy changes to combat piracy, it explicitly mentioned limiting terms often used in illegally downloading copyrighted material from its Autocomplete tool. “We will prevent terms that are closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete,” the statement said. “While it’s hard to know for sure when search terms are being used to find infringing content, we’ll do our best to prevent Autocomplete from displaying the terms most frequently used for that purpose.”
Google’s three other announced policy changes are expediting copyright takedown requests and the appeals process, improving anti-piracy efforts surrounding Google’s AdSense program, and making authorized preview content more accessible in search results. No word yet on when any of these changes will be enacted.