Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Censorship Google Piracy Your Rights Online

Google To Block Piracy-Related Terms From Autocomplete 275

An anonymous reader writes "Google is making changes in the way it presents web search results to try to exclude links that may be tied to pirated content. In a move enthusiastically praised by the RIAA, Google says it will not include terms closely associated with piracy from appearing via autocomplete. The company acknowledged that it can be hard to know what terms are being used to find infringing content, but 'we'll do our best to prevent Autocomplete from displaying the terms most frequently used for that purpose.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google To Block Piracy-Related Terms From Autocomplete

Comments Filter:
  • Less Popular (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheNinjaroach ( 878876 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:12PM (#34423952)
    I can see this directly leading to Google becoming very slightly less popular for search. There were many good reasons to use AltaVista back in its day..
    • Re:Less Popular (Score:4, Informative)

      by shuz ( 706678 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:14PM (#34423990) Homepage Journal
      You mean yahoo? (which acquired AltaVista)
      • He meant Bing which Yahoo now uses.
        • by maxume ( 22995 )

          No, he literally meant AltaVista, it enjoyed quite wide use before Google came along, and then it pretty much vanished into the ether.

          • Just adding to your post...AltaVista was pretty much the search engine to use. Then it started becoming one of those portal sites that everyone loved back then, the actualy seach text field becoming buried between animated gifs adn tons of ads. Then thankfully Google came along and cleaned house with it's clean and minimal interface and smarter search engine. AltaVistas answer was, which actually until not too long ago was a google-like clean interface to AltaVista search. It did not save them fr
            • I didn't notice much difference in search results when I switched from AltaVista to Google (around 2000), although other people told me that they were better. I did notice that the search page took two seconds instead of 30 to load on my modem (especially important when you're paying per minute for dialup).
    • Among the people who are too cheap to pay for movies, music, or games, and are also too lazy to type their search out? Yes, I'm sure they're going to exhaustively research competing search engines and remember to not use google, so that they have less typing to do.

      Google has got to be terrified of that, I mean they're going to lose out on so much advertising revenue from companies that make products for cheap, lazy people. Knockoff "Clapper" manufacturers for example, are going to move to altavista.

    • Still popular (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MonChrMe ( 1849782 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:42PM (#34424436)

      It won't even affect it - It's only autocomplete, not the search itself.

      Basically all this means is that the freeloaders (I prefer not to use the term pirate) will need to type 'torrent' manually instead of having it pop up magically. Big deal... given the lengths some of them go to already an extra eight keystrokes (including the space) isn't going to dissuade them one bit.

      Google can't magically stop people using the terms outright as it would affect a lot of other searches as well. For instance, someone searching for a water torrent stock photo... Google isn't doing anything to affect that.

      AltaVista didn't even have autocomplete, IIRC, and they've not said anything about it changing search results at all.

    • by bonch ( 38532 )

      Google is an advertising company. Why should they care about attracting people who aren't interesting in paying for anything?

      • Google is an advertising company. Why should they care about attracting people who aren't interesting in paying for anything?

        Not only that.

        Google is interested in becoming a major player in commercial video distribution.

        Which is why it supports integrated content protection - Flash - in Chrome.

    • I thought that's what Baidu was for. The only downside is most of the text is encrypted with indecipherable characters.

    • by pwnies ( 1034518 )
      Why, because search terms aren't auto-completed? You can still search for them, they just don't show up in instant search nor are suggested for users - much like adult content. IMO this is a good move. I don't want to be searching for "minified js engine" on google and have some sysadmin on my ass about why I had a google suggestion packet coming to me that was for "".
  • Arrrr!, walk the plank and shiver me timbers?

    • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:31PM (#34424302) Journal

      Actually - I'd love it if Google Took this approach.

      Google: Okay. We've done as you've asked, we removed references to piracy in autocomplete, now wheres our money?

      RIAA: What the hell? I just entered "Iron Ma" in there and the 3rd thing on the list is "Iron Man 2 Torrent".

      Google: Yeah but notice if you enter "Jolly R" - there's no mention of Jolly Roger anymore.

      RIAA: That's not exactly what we were looking for...

      Google: -And if you enter "Blackbea" - no mention of blackbeard anymore...

      RIAA: Okay okay. We get it.

      Google: And this! "Rubber chicken with a"

      *RIAA storms the room*

      • by arielCo ( 995647 )

        Google: And this! "Rubber chicken with a"

        Well played, sir Threep

      • Re:Like what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hotawa Hawk-eye ( 976755 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @08:07PM (#34425498)

        I like the way you think, but I see it a little differently.

        Google: Okay, we've done as you asked and removed piracy-related terms from autocompletion.

        RIAA + MPAA: Excellent!

        RIAA + MPAA: What the ...? I typed "iron ma" and the only thing that came up was "iron magnets"? Where's "Iron Man" or "Iron Maiden"?

        Google: Oh, those terms often came up in searches performed by pirates, so as you requested we removed them from autocompletion. In fact, we went even further and removed them from the search results entirely! Aren't you happy?

        RIAA + MPAA: *fuming*

  • Well damn... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Irick ( 1842362 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:14PM (#34424006)
    Now they will have to actually type out their coppywrite infringing query. Well thanks alot google for making illicit deeds slightly less convenient.
  • Lapdog (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cosm ( 1072588 ) <> on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:15PM (#34424018)
    This move makes them look like a lapdog shill. The bigger they get, the more they are learning they have to play ball with the politicians and mafiaa in order to please the other plutocratic overlords. Moves like this help them stay out of the legal crosshairs and keep friends in high-places (back scratching deal making kind of places).

    Seriously, since when is linking to data crime! It seems like we are seeing more and more stories with asshats lawyers and lobbyist and congressfucks who think this way. God forbid hosting it, but linking to it? Get real. Idiots.
    • They haven't stopped linking to anything, this only changes what pops up in the auto-complete. All this means for you is you need to spend maybe an extra 0.2 seconds per search as you finish typing your query. Not only did you fail to RTFA, you apparently lacked the reading comprehension to parse TFS and even the title. While I may not be thrilled with what Google is doing here, let's try not to spread rumors.
    • It used to be imperialist pigs, now its plutocratic overlords. I love how you can rank how far left the site is by counting the latest buzzword:

      The champion (957 results): []

      HuffPo is surprisingly lagging behind with only 132: []

      Perhaps it too is getting taken over by plutocratic overlords?

    • by CODiNE ( 27417 )

      This is what happens when Google tries to be Apple. Gotta cut deals, gotta play nice. We have the Google TV to thank for this.

      • This is what happens when Google tries to be Apple. Gotta cut deals, gotta play nice. We have the Google TV to thank for this.

        21% of peak hour download traffic is a Netflix stream.

        Currently, only 2% of Netflix subscribers stream video - about 300,000 - but they can do it directly through their HDTV set, video game console, Blu-Ray player or set-top box.

        They don't need a PC. They don't need a BitTorrent client.

        They don't need to waste hours nursing a download of an amateur's DVD rip. They don't need tetraby

  • Now that Google is proving the feasibility of removing piracy-related terms from Autocomplete, the obvious next move by the ??AA will be to insist (or get their legislators to write laws insisting) that the piracy-related terms produce bad or no search results.
  • I did a search for torrent on goggle the second link goes to a piracy site. I did the same search on Altavista and the top ten results a different torrent clients that I can use to utilize said torrent that I am interested in. Given the term I would say the Yahoo result is more relevant. So maybe google is just trying to keep its searches relevant all while spinning the change in a positive light for a few specific industry interests?
  • by Banichi ( 1255242 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:20PM (#34424096)

    I quit using Yahoo back in the day because it impinged on my give-a-damn. Too many ads, not enough do-what-I-want simply, quickly, or silently. Google's bare bones front page was exactly what I wanted in a search engine.

    Is there any sort of replacement for Google in that same vein? A bare bones search engine I can set as my home page and expect not to be impinged on by irritants like someone else deciding what I may search for?

    Also, does it mean anything for the non automated search function of Google's HTTPS feature?

    • I switched to DuckDuckGo, which uses HTTPS by default (not just for the search page, they also link to the HTTPS version of Wikipedia, for example, instead of the HTTP version), has a strong privacy policy, and doesn't store anything user-identifiable in cookies. They do set a cookie if you set any preferences, but it only contains the string of preferences and is the same for anyone with the same preferences - you can also provide the same string in the get string.
  • I'm OK with this.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:20PM (#34424102) Journal
    ..because I find Google Autocomplete to be bloated and annoying. Many of the changes they've made to their basic search page are bloated and annoying, too. I shouldn't have to wait for some javascript crap to load up and run just to do a basic web search. The new image search is OK though.
    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      Similar here: if I'm looking for information about a movie or TV show, usually about 80% of the autocomplete options Google suggests are piracy-related; at least it might now display something that's actually useful to me.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      I don't like the new image search. :(

  • by KublaiKhan ( 522918 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:20PM (#34424108) Homepage Journal
    Google's famous for proclaiming that their policy is to not be evil.

    They're associating strongly here with the RIAA and MPAA, organizations which are widely considered to be evil, and making decisions based on their input.

    I'm not going to say flat-out that Google's being evil, and breaking their ethics policy, but if you lie down with pigs then you may well come up covered in mud...
    • I have more respect for Microsoft. Microsoft never pretends to be anything other than a corporation trying to maximize profits. Google try to pose as friend by supporting some open source projects, but when it comes to issues like sucking up to the Chinese, censorship, and net neutrality we see their true colors.

      • Every organization is going to end up being somewhat hypocritical.

        What I'd like to see from Google--what would make them genuinely different--is a free and open admission of where they've screwed up and what they could do to fix it. ...and what they -will- be doing, to boot.

        Having a little "Google Confessional" link off the front page would be good for that, I think.

        It would go a long way towards mollifying some of the critics if they're shown to be self-aware and making strides to better themselves.

        Not tha
  • I see that Google also eliminates the word 'porn' from its auto complete...but when you complete it yourself and hit 'enter', results are shown instantly.

    Given that consumers of pirate stuff always know what they want, I submit that Google's idea will be as they say, 'dead on arrival.'

  • I'm trying to search for "Pirates" because I want to pay for the Johnny Depp trilogy, but I'm not getting any results...screw it, I'll just download it.
  • Good move indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rastoboy29 ( 807168 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:26PM (#34424222) Homepage
    All they need to do is block all major movies and records and artists from autocomplete.

    In fact, they should remove them from search results altogether--why, that would send the MAFIAA into paroxysms of joy, right?
    • /signed

      I haven't seen very many movies or heard any music lately that feels like it was worth my time or money. Maybe I'm just getting old.

  • by robot256 ( 1635039 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:27PM (#34424228)

    NOTE: I'm using the https search option on a verizon wireless connection.

    If you type in "how to pir" it won't finished with "pirate music".

    BUT if you type in "download", "download free music" and "download limewire" are the 2nd and 8th autocomplete entries, respectively. And if you type in "pirate", it give a sponsored link from The Pirate Bay in autocomplete!

    I have no idea what they're talking about--does it not apply to secure searches? I honestly can't think of any more blatant search terms to include.

    • Every journey to evil has a first step...

    • by jrumney ( 197329 )
      Maybe they've taken a very literal interpretation of what the RIAA requested. If you type pir, they won't complete to anything beginning with pirate, but if you type the whole word, it will resume completion for the rest of the words, since the words they are completing are not related to piracy.
  • for interference with my research on a bestselling biography on Anne Bonney.
  • Reasonable (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BCoates ( 512464 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:34PM (#34424330)

    This seems pretty reasonable; when you search for the name of a popular movie (for example), " torrent" is almost always one of the top autocomplete hits, and the results you get from that are usually garbage or worse. There's probably a ton of people getting trojans and viruses, or scammed, by these sites by mis-clicking. They're not making it any harder to access this stuff intentionally, they're not being filtered from the actual search results.

    • A better question is whether or not it will actually decrease copyright infringement. I can't speak for everyone, but I can't ever think of a time that I was typing in the name of some artist, movie, television show, book, etc. that I ever clicked on the auto-completed torrent link. If I really wanted a torrent, I'd just type in the full search term, but honestly I wouldn't even be searching on Google as I'm already aware of any number of sites where I could find what I was looking for.

      I don't believe th
  • Pornography (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:35PM (#34424346) Journal

    This will be a successful plan because Google's previous blocking of pornography-related terms from autocomplete was a spectacular success at preventing people from finding pornography.

    • That wasn't intended to stop people finding porn though, just to stop the kids stumbling into it by accident.

      'Course, the kids can still find it on purpose, short of their parents wising up and installing some parental controls.

  • by SheeEttin ( 899897 ) <> on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:35PM (#34424354) Homepage
    Guys, Google's not changing their search results. Just words that show up in autocomplete.
    So if, for example, you start typing "call of duty 7 cra", it's not going to offer "crack", but it will offer "crazy", "crap", etc. Anyone looking for a crack is going to take the extra second to type it out and press enter. This isn't actually going to deter anyone.
    • If they removed the pirating terms... "call of duty cra" would return "call of duty crashes" as the first result. I don't have any of the COD games, but I found it funny.

    • What if you type "Natalie Portman's cra"???
  • I'd like to point out that this is *ONLY* autocomplete. They're not doing anything about search results, but they're preventing copyright infringement-related terms from appearing in autocomplete - RTFTitle.

    As most slashdotters have probably noticed, they do the same thing for pornography. Searching "midget fis" doesn't suggest anything, but there are 71k results for "midget fisting" (isn't it terrifying?) if you just go ahead and hit enter.

    Frankly, Google's autocomplete shouldn't be the reason that an othe

  • >The company acknowledged that it can be hard to know what terms are being used to find infringing content

    They could start with the names of all currently showing films and current chart singles. I'm sure the MPAA and the RIAA would be just thrilled.

  • I just typed "avast ye mateys" and it still appeared in the autocomplete.
  • Everyone here seems to be down on this - but not me. You see, I've been having trouble with Google lately. I keep turning instant search off in my preferences, yet after a day or two it somehow magically turns itself back on again. Thanks to this announcement, I now have a solution to my problem.

    From now on, no matter what I want to search for - the first thing I'm going to type is "1080p". Because this should trigger the disabling of autocomplete (and therefore instant results), I can then reliably type my

  • No working (Score:5, Funny)

    by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @07:30PM (#34425108) Homepage
    I just tried "keelhauling", "scurvy", and "buggery" and all were auto-completed just fine.
  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @07:31PM (#34425122)
    So any links containing the terms "arrrr", "matey", or "ye scurvy dogs" will now be blocked?
  • I can't believe that this point hasn't been made yet: the reason for leaving torrent out of autocomplete is to prevent the knowledge of torrents from spreading. They don't want normal, non-geeky people seeing the word "torrent" next to their favorite song, clicking it out of curiosity, then learning about the wonderful world of file-sharing.

    This isn't about existing torrent users. It's about slowing down the creation of new ones.

  • by mykos ( 1627575 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @11:54PM (#34427464)
    It's amazing how many double standards money can buy.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.