Google unintentionally promoting ‘best torrent sites’ in search results
Google’s search results are highlighting ‘best torrent sites’
The battle against online piracy has been going on for years now. While the entertainment, music and media companies are fighting hard to keep copyrighted movies, music and software off the Internet, it looks like Google is not making it any easier for them.
Apparently, Google is highlighting the ‘best torrent sites’ in U.S. search results. If you search for “torrent sites” or “best torrent sites”, Google is returning a carousel of what’s “popular on the web” as a result for the query, said TorrentFreak who was the first to report it. For instance, Google displays the names of sites such as RARBG, The Pirate Bay, isoHunt, Torrent Project and 1337x as well as their logo. Clicking on any of these links will bring up all results for the associated term.
Also, when U.S. users search for ‘streaming sites’, Google search results is reportedly showing both legal and illegal streaming services simultaneously, such as Putlocker, Hulu, Crackle, Movie4k.to, Alluc and Popcornflix.
However, the search results appear only on Google.com, and are not visible in other domains, like in India. What is interesting is that “torrent sites” when googled from country like India highlights a Wikipedia page comparing torrent sites.
When Engadget contacted Google for clarification regarding the search results, a spokesperson for the search engine said, “These results are generated algorithmically, but in this particular case, do not reflect what we had in mind for this feature and we are looking into it.”
As one may guess, highlighting pirate sites wasn’t a deliberate move by Google, who has in the past worked with right holders such as MPAA and RIAA to demote torrent site results. This means that the search results displaying torrent sites may very soon disappear from the list.
This is not the first time that Google is embroiled in online controversy. In the past too, Google had displayed ratings from torrent sites apart from ratings apart from regular review sites such as IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.