Google Censoring Torrent Search Suggestions: 7 Terrible Things They Don't Censor

JD Rucker January 27 Google

Google’s war against torrents is being kept quiet. No announcements. No press releases. You will only find the story in blogs that are carefully watching.

In essence, Google is removing keywords from their Suggest and Instant results so that they are no longer recommended when people start typing them. If you continue all the way through on a term such as “BitTorrent,” Google will offer the results. Reluctantly. They won’t help you out at all, even if you type all the way to the “n.” Try typing in “BitTorren” without the last “t” into Google.

Apparently, they have no idea what you’re talking about.

It’s their search and they’ve made their choice. The funny part is that something as relatively harmless as downloading torrents is considered taboo on Google, but there are plenty of other more harmful searches that Google is all too willing to recommend…

Written by JD Rucker

+JD Rucker is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Marketing Blog. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and founder of both Judeo Christian Church and Dealer Authority. He drinks a lot of coffee, usually in the form of a 5-shot espresso over ice. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
SEE MORE ARTICLES BY "JD Rucker"

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92 Comments »

 
#1
Guaranteed SEO
January 27th, 2011 at 9:34 am

This is very sad. We are more concerned about digital copyrights of corporate empires, rather than basic humanitarian and ethical principals. I’m really looking forward to the political and economic changes happening right now, perhaps some time in the near future we will have a sensible political system (in the US) that is not sponsored by the corporate world and is not solely focused on pressuring other entities (eg. Google) to implement policies for the benefit of corporate empires

 
 
#2
Optamizm
February 8th, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Hahaha! Yeah right, like that’s going to happen…

 
 
#3
Soup Physics
December 6th, 2011 at 2:31 pm

That is the problem.

And the common person doesn’t even notice how their basic human rights and privacy rights are being violated, for no other reason, than rich companies with people in powerful positions, doing so because they can.

 
 
#4
epynephrin
January 27th, 2011 at 9:47 am

Those are fairly suspicious, but in Google’s defense searching for “Bittorrent” (and pressing ‘enter’) does return results. It did correct “Bitorren” and came up with Bittorrent for the first result under “bitt” as a search.

Just doing the devil’s advocate thing.

 
 
#5
RAD
January 27th, 2011 at 10:17 am

Not true. I just googled bittorrent form google and with chrome and got this:

About 76,000,000 results (0.14 seconds)
Search Results
BitTorrent
Free, open source file-sharing application effective for distributing very large software and media files. Documentation, FAQ, search-engine.
http://www.bittorrent.com/ – Cached – Similar
Get BitTorrent
Download
Directory Index of Downloads
What Is BitTorrent? | BitTorrent
Got BitTorrent | BitTorrent
BitTorrent Users
Open Source
BitTorrent DNA
More results from bittorrent.com »

Get BitTorrent | BitTorrent
The new BitTorrent 6 for Windows brings together BitTorrent’s proven …
http://www.bittorrent.com/btusers/download – Cached
What Is BitTorrent? | BitTorrent
BitTorrent is the global standard for delivering high-quality files over the …
http://www.bittorrent.com/btusers/what-is-bittorrent – Cached – Similar
Show more results from bittorrent.com

 
 
#6
Soup Physics
December 6th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Seriously, how is it possible to be as retarded as you, and all the other morons who didn’t AT ALL get what this article was about.

It’s really simple and there is nothing that can be misunderstood.

He never said one thing about google not showing you torrent results you moron.

 
 
#7
empire
January 27th, 2011 at 10:32 am

This is totally bogus. If I type “bittorrent” it gives me suggestions. If I type “torrent” it gives me suggestions. If I type “utorrent” it gives me suggestions. Are you complaining because they won’t give you suggestions on misspellings? Shame on you, find something else to meaninglessly target,

 
 
#8
alexa
January 27th, 2011 at 8:13 pm

They aren’t saying you can’t search the word, they are saying Google won’t auto complete anything with those words in it because corporations are threatening to sue if they do.

 
 
#9
Soup Physics
December 6th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

You are clearly retarded. What you just wrote is not even related to what this article is about.

 
 
#10
elbrian
January 27th, 2011 at 10:41 am

Holy Papyrus, Batman!

 
 
#11
anon
January 27th, 2011 at 11:02 am

hmmm.. google still corrected me when i searched “BitTorren”

 
 
#12
Steve Lane
January 27th, 2011 at 11:40 am

I just tried “BitTorren” in my google via Chrome and it completed just fine.

 
 
#13
ya_right
January 27th, 2011 at 11:43 am

there are alternatives to the censors

https://ssl.scroogle.org/

 
 
#14
MrEthiopian
January 27th, 2011 at 11:47 am

I just did a search for torrents on Google and had NO such issues, Please explain.

 
 
#15
Soup Physics
December 6th, 2011 at 2:26 pm

The explanation is that you didn’t understand what you just read.

 
 
#16
Harry Manmack
January 27th, 2011 at 12:07 pm

This info graphic made my eyes BLEED.

 
 
#17
Dan
January 27th, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Of course, the RIAA doesn’t care if you kidnap children.

 
 
#18
gabe
January 27th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

except that they show plenty of links once you finish typing all of them. my sense of outrage is underwhelmed.

 
 
#19
Warden Chinbach
January 27th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Wow, you’re pretty dumb. They didn’t censor anything. They leave it out of the suggestions now. All you have to do is press the “enter” button. Or are you just that lazy?

 
 
#20
Duncan
January 28th, 2011 at 8:40 am

Leaving out suggestions intentionally is a form of censorship.

 
 
#21
Tulip
January 28th, 2011 at 10:26 am

No, a government’s use of its coercive power to prohibit suggestions is censorship. A private company leaving out suggestions intentionally is a business decision.

 
 
#22
Fixx
January 29th, 2011 at 10:11 am

Actually that would be censorship by a corporation. It’s done all the time on ingredient labels, press releases, etc. etc. The difference it that when done by a business as opposed to a government the motives and reasoning tends to be profit driven as opposed to morally driven. It seems to me that this is what the authour is pointing out. I think it’s certainly a valid observation.

 
 
#23
Martin
February 1st, 2011 at 9:03 pm

“A private company leaving out suggestions intentionally is a business decision”

hahahaha stupid.

 
 
#24
Plan 9
February 18th, 2011 at 10:52 am

Bingo. It cracks me up how few people know what the 1st Amendment really says. You’re protected under the constitution against the government censoring any speech that doesn’t incite violence. A private company is well within its right to decide what is and what isn’t included in their products. I’m a proud Bittorrent-er and I also refuse to pretend to be a victim.

 
 
#25
Josh
January 27th, 2011 at 1:46 pm

My issue with this is that as far as i know Google doesn’t filter words in context. They just filter words.

So in some cases it may make sense to filter “Meth”

They can’t really filter “kidnap” or “steal” those are very common words.

And it’s not like they are filtering “bittorrent” from their search, their filtering form their auto complete.

I think it’s meant more as a deterrent, If you don’t see ‘ironman torrent” maybe you will be less likely to download it. While if you are going to search “Ironman torrent” anyway auto complete really doesn’t matter.

 
 
#26
Amy
January 27th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

That is quite possibly the worst graphic I have ever seen. Did you want people to read it and understand it, or did you just want to punch people in the brain with poor design? AND WHY IS IT STARTING TO TILE?

 
 
#27
Dufusut
January 27th, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Well, if you are not lazy and type out the full word (bittorrent), then google will give you the results and suggestions.

 
 
#28
Bill
April 30th, 2011 at 3:42 am

They aren’t saying you can’t search the word, they are saying Google won’t auto complete anything with those words in it because corporations are threatening to sue if they do.

 
 
#29
Suggymoto
January 27th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

And yet Google Reader will still quite happily recommend torrent related posts. Odd.

 
 
#30
tehk
January 27th, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Your article does have one thing going for it: nice picture. Otherwise, like the other readers said, its a bogus load of crap. Perhaps maybe you should work for TechCrunch :)

 
 
#31
Opiated
January 27th, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Apparently this is not true but even if it were true I dont see why google should first censor what you think they should before censoring bittorrent. I personally would be delighted not to see torrent links flood my search results.

 
 
#32
wj
January 27th, 2011 at 7:34 pm

you people are missing the point. the op is not being lazy and complaining that it won’t autocomplete and that he *has* to hit enter, he’s making a point that google censors words from their autocomplete dictionary, and the dichotomy (look it up) of the harmlessness of word(s) that are censored versus the potentially harmful words/phrases that are not censored.

obviously they can do whatever they like, since it’s their product, but it is an interesting that suggest will suggest things that are blatantly illegal, while censoring terms that are not necessarily illegal.

 
 
#33
jsownmx
January 27th, 2011 at 7:42 pm

They need to censor your use of Papyrus.

 
 
#34
Heyhey
January 27th, 2011 at 8:39 pm

You use Papyrus, therefore your argument is invalid.

 
 
#35
DAVE ID
January 28th, 2011 at 6:47 am

ROFL :) Good Point

 
 
#36
Fer Real?
January 27th, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Worst article of January 2011 on the internet.

 
 
#37
Anonymous D
January 27th, 2011 at 11:23 pm

If I go to google.ca, right now, and type in “bittorrent” it gives me nothing… even when I complete the word; same goes for all the other words he listed.

I can guarantee to you, it’s blocked where I am… tried two other computers, got a mac user friend to do it, tried it on firefox, IE, chrome and asked a friend to try Opera just for completeness.

No suggestions.

 
 
#38
The Great Badger Crunch
January 27th, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Hell, it was obvious that Bush and Blair and Howard were lying their butts off about Iraq, and committing vast war crimes…the evidence was all there, they seemed to revel in their villainy, and it was clear they were criminals, yet what did you people do? NOTHING. Ah, but the minute you think someone might be threatening your ability to steal the new Kings Of Leon album or the latest misogynistic torture porn movie, and you’re suddenly Che Guevara fighting for freedom. Hypocrites.

 
 
#39
FKGOOG
January 28th, 2011 at 1:05 am

EFF U GOOGLE. ok that was a bit harsh. i love google, they seem like a legit company, they just need to sort their priorities

 
 
#40
Motorsheep
January 28th, 2011 at 1:12 am

Many of these comments re-enforce the sad fact that people tent to comment on articles they haven’t actually read… I was able to get suggestions from google all the way up to “Bit”, but as soon as I typed “Bitt” the suggestions stopped. Same for other torrent-related searches; the minute that a torrent-related result was the only option the suggestions clearly stopped. This is different from typing in “Bittoren” and getting bittorent results when you finally click “search”. This article is about google suggestions, not google results, and is both accurate and very telling about Google’s priorities.

No to go find that formula for meth…

 
 
#41
Amanajeh
January 28th, 2011 at 4:32 am

I wasn’t believin’ …then I tryed…
and is SO TRUE!
I tryed all the ways he listed…
Im from Brazil and google is doing this to torrent users for REAL!
Damm…¬¬

 
 
#42
zim
January 28th, 2011 at 5:55 am

sorry I just typed bittorren into google and it gave me all sorts of bittorrent results and assumed I’d meant bittorrent. I got 77,7000,000 results. Sorry article is a FAIL!

 
 
#43
Simon
January 29th, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Read the article and Motorsheep’s comment. This article is about Google suggestions and not searches.

 
 
#44
Optamizm
February 8th, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Sorry, you fail…

 
 
#45
DAVE ID
January 28th, 2011 at 6:46 am

If you believe in free speech and freedom of information NOTHING SHOULD BE BANNED, Freedom of expression protects what you don’t want to hear or see.

 
 
#46
RaulJones
January 28th, 2011 at 7:27 am

“Try typing in “BitTorren” without the last “t” into Google.”

I did, & got a ton of torrent suggestions. Maybe the author should try it before stating the contrary.

 
 
#47
Simon
January 29th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

The author knows what his doing.

 
 
#48
SichaDigga
January 28th, 2011 at 7:30 am

“In essence, Google is removing keywords from their Suggest and Instant results so that they are no longer recommended when people start typing them.”

Hey guys, it just started with autocomplete. Sure they will censor the results sooner or later.

Yes, they will. Why should MPAA and RIAA. say – “ok, it´s enough”?

 
 
#49
luca_603
January 28th, 2011 at 8:05 am

In the Italian version of google, if I type “come si fa a f” (“how do I do to m”), one of the autocompletions is “come si fa a fare una pompa” (“how do I do to make a blowjob”).

 
 
#50
Simon
January 29th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Hahahah!

 
 
#51
Annoyed and Anal Retentive
January 28th, 2011 at 8:08 am

Hi,

Censorship in this sense would not be showing you results from your search. Not showing you results live while you type them in is something entirely different, since the information AT THE END OF YOUR SEARCH is still the same.

That this is even being called censorship is completely harebrained and retarded. Get the fuck over it, there is SO MUCH WORSE going on than you not being able to get live results for a search when you type the word ‘titties’ into Google’s search engine.

 
 
#52
Simon
January 29th, 2011 at 1:34 pm

“So much worse going on”? Do you work in charity and helping save lives? Sounds like you are doing something considered “worthwhile”. Everyone has their own jobs to do.

 
 
#53
Undecisive
January 28th, 2011 at 9:53 am

I think the point is that google’s suggest feature is deemed useful by people. So if you’re telling people that they should stop being lazy, you’re missing the point.

It is a little ridiculous. “ubuntu torr” comes up empty. It is a shocking case of the priorities of $multi-million corporations far outweighing the voices of decent human beings. After all, where’s the profit in saving lives?

 
 
#54
King Keepo
January 28th, 2011 at 10:23 am

It’s certainly not autocompleting for me (www.google.com from the UK):

http://img832.imageshack.us/img832/1461/googlebittorrentnotcomp.jpg

Love the examples used in the article, it really shows how petty this is. Can we get the State to threaten to sue for all the other illegal stuff you can search for?

(er, hell no BTW)

 
 
#55
AJ
January 28th, 2011 at 11:15 am

Come on people, read the article. If you’re not familiar with Google’s Instant or Suggest features, figure that part out first.

 
 
#56
mofolarry
January 28th, 2011 at 11:25 am

I just did a search on “bit tor” and the 1st result was bittorrent.com.

big deal if it doesn’t autocomplete. the info it’s still there. that’s like complaining that these spam companies send me mails to enlarge my schlong but they don’t send me love poems, which is what i really want.

lame.

 
 
#57
nerys
January 28th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I see the points of those saying “it’s not really censorship since they don’t block search results”, and if the item in question (bittorrent) was unquestionably and unambiguously illegal, I wouldn’t really have a problem with Google’s position. However, what some people seem to forget is that downloading media is not inherently illegal in any way shape or form. Yes yes, I know people will probably throw figures and statistics at me (most of which are likely made up and have no verification or citation), explaining that the vast majority of downloading is illegal, but if you’ve spent any time browsing Legal Torrents or other similar sites, legally offering content, with the consent and blessing of the owners of said content, and if you’re heard the commentaries from musicians and others who argue that the downloading culture has actually generated fans for them (and revenue as a result, in many cases)… let’s just say this is about as stupid as adding an extra tax on blank tapes (anyone else remember the 80s) or blank CDs. Plain and simple, it’s punishing those who use the process legitimately. I’ve seen this time and time again: 1) make a problem seem worse than it is, especially when the only so-called victims don’t really need any help, 2) offer a solution that make it seem like you’re helping to solve the “problem”, 3) ignore the fact that the solution doesn’t actually solve anything in a practical sense.

 
 
#58
Alex
January 28th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Actually #37 this is the very definition of censorship. Censorship is any attempt to filter or remove information from consciousness. Of course there are ways around censorship, there have always been. The point is that it is happening one step at a time. It’s not a question of being “too lazy” to hit the enter key or the fact that they are censoring autocomplete instead of results. The point is that a private corporation is censoring media under pressure from another private organization.

It is a big deal mainly because this is the exact foot-in-the-door the RIAA and MPAA needed. By censoring torrents, Google sent the world several messages; the most prominent of which is that torrents (and the websites who host them) are illegal.

 
 
#59
ersouza
January 28th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Autocomplete/Autosuggest only provides 5 suggestions anyway. Are we saying any possibly relevant suggestion that doesn’t make it into that top 5 is censorship? Hey, I typed “bit” and it didn’t suggest “bittern” to me – why is Google censoring birds?!?

 
 
#60
Jiggaboo
January 28th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I call bullshit on this article. It auto-completed fine, It returned tens of millions of resluts once entered. Why is he trying to spread these lies?

 
 
#61
K.M.
January 28th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

thank you for pointing this out!
I probably never would have noticed otherwise
‘rapidshare’ and ‘megaupload’ also not auto-completed wowow

UGH the Internet is so awesome/weird/maddening

 
 
#62
Anonymous
January 28th, 2011 at 8:03 pm

FYI when u try to post this link on facebook it soesnt show any pictures or any of the story like it does with other links maybe to make it look less interesting so people wont click on it.

 
 
#63
Simon
January 29th, 2011 at 1:39 pm

OMG you serious? Facebook and Google are conspiring, Lmao

 
 
#64
Sugandh Mishra
January 28th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

i also don’t agree to all this they don’t even ban “how to hack gmail password”, have look here: http://img248.imageshack.us/i/20110129093544.png/

 
 
#65
Andy
January 28th, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Google stops auto-suggesting if the RESULTS brings up dodgy stuff, it’s the same with google instant. Does the same for some swear words. You can search for it, but it won’t auto-suggest.

 
 
#66
ABC
January 29th, 2011 at 3:18 am

You are comparing auto complete on frases with auto complete on a single word…
If you type “torrent ava” it will suggest “torrent avatar” and “torrent avatar the last airbender”.
People really like to make up conspiracy stories… Just get a life.

 
 
#67
Angel
January 29th, 2011 at 5:13 am

Certainly I don’t understand such arrival on Torrent. Probably it is connected with pressure from legal owners. After such statement I for myself have found torrent search engine http://www.torrentoff.com. Fortunately today it is a lot of them. Thus I have solved for myself a problem of search of torrent-files.

 
 
#68
Nanny
January 29th, 2011 at 5:21 am

So you want google to be your nanny ? instead of fighting for allowing search for EVERYTHING you want them to censor more ? Sheep.

 
 
#69
evenhead
January 29th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

so just because you can’t auto-complete the words it means that they’re censoring it? I tried it out myself and you can still search for and find the websites

 
 
#70
Khyber
January 29th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

The picture showing the list is missing…

 
 
#71
elias
January 29th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Just tried it out, it’s true, no auto-completion. Only when full word is typed, results appear…
Try “rapidshare”, the same happens…

 
 
#72
Spelling Nazi
January 29th, 2011 at 11:04 pm

You should probably learn to spell “past” before creating more graphics.

 
 
#73
secretmojo
January 29th, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Okay next person who refutes this article by mentioning search results or spelling suggestions instead of the AUTO-COMPLETE behavior gets an idiot badge.

 
 
#74
Johnny Jurnista
January 31st, 2011 at 2:22 am

Yep, it made me type in all of bittorrent but to be fair, I typed P and piratebay was suggested str8 away.

 
 
#75
Drew
January 31st, 2011 at 1:44 pm

You people talk about this being a business decision, well that’s exactly what it is. It’s a consumer decision to point these things out on a blog. The point is Google claims to be an organic search engine, when really that is less and less true everyday. As more and more people that realize this, Google might make a different business decision.

 
 
#76
xer
February 1st, 2011 at 2:37 am

As long as the corporations don’t lose money, people can steal money, kidnap children, make meth, and dodge taxes. nice

 
 
#77
doesn't matter
February 1st, 2011 at 9:12 am

um, just tiped “bit” into the Search bar and the first suggestion is … bittorrent !! … i don’t use google.com, i use http://www.google.ro/ig?hl=ro, and i also tried on google.com and still the first suggestion is bittorrent … this could be because of the region, or the language, or because i’m using Chrome … or because this whole thing is f***ed up !!

 
 
#78
ArchK
February 6th, 2011 at 9:46 am

I’m sorry, but this is a non-issue. So torrents aren’t offered as autosuggestions–so WHAT? There’s effectively no censorship going on, so I acutally resent the implication of there being one. If you search for torrents, you get results, so where’s the crime (heh heh, get it, the “crime”?)? You’re making a big deal out of the fact that they’re not listed under autosuggestions? That’s petty, and ultimately pointless. And better Google should deal with the torrent issue in this manner than outright banning torrent-related search results altogether, don’t you think? GOD, the crap that makes it into articles sometimes, I mean, really now…

 
 
#79
Anonymous
August 15th, 2011 at 4:23 pm

But Google is reinforcing the notion that torrents can only be used for illegal purposes. It’s a small gesture towards keeping torrents taboo, but one that hundreds of millions of people are exposed to daily.

 
 
#80
Soup Physics
December 6th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

ArchK, you are a total retard.

That is 100% censorship. They are indirectly trying to prevent people
from finding out about torrents, and to make it harder for the people
who already know.

Because of what? Because some powerful companies push them to.

Where does it stop? Next they might remove the name of a presidential candidate from the suggestions, to try to affect an election.

If they are doing this already, what are they also filtering out of their search results? You would never know what manipulations they are doing to the search results.

So get it into you teeny mind, that this is about more than just torrents.

 
 
#81
Nico
February 9th, 2011 at 10:12 am

Google recently introduced Instant Searches, way for people to easily search without completing the whole keyword or term that you want to search. Although I understand the validity of comments here saying to just complete the whole word and get it over with, I think the author has a point. With Google introducing this new way of searching, they are actually making people get used to not completing keywords and rely more on their recommended instant search results. If this happens, those filtered by the instant search gets no traffic unless they key in the whole term and press enter.

 
 
#82
ferlin
February 11th, 2011 at 12:53 am

Google also have Google TV.. and in a way the torrent censoring will support Google TV because lots of torrent are also movies and tv shows.

 
 
#83
Trying Bing Now
March 3rd, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I have always loved google and still do but I can’t condone their decision while so many other things are not censored. There should be no censorship at all. Google bending to the will of the MPA and the RIAA is disappointing and has made me switch to another search engine. Sure they don’t care what I think and many others may would say well if you are not going to use google search you should stop using all their products. Maybe that will happen in time, for now, just the search engine. Consumers vote for what they want with their dollars and in this case, its with their default home page and search engine.

 
 
#84
Exgoogleuser
March 12th, 2011 at 9:39 pm

sad

 
 
#85
Guest
March 14th, 2011 at 12:53 am

If they want to curb piracy, they should censor “warez”, “rom”, “crack”, “keygen”, and others. Because typing the name of a popular game all too often has a rom of the game on its suggest list. Then youngsters will learn that you can get the game for free, and then new pirates will be born.

 
 
#86
anonymous
April 17th, 2011 at 9:24 pm

please do the world a favor and never use papyrus again…

 
 
#87
Spencer
May 4th, 2011 at 12:05 am

This just isn’t even true.

 
 
#88
Spencer
May 4th, 2011 at 12:06 am

The censoring part i mean.

 
 
#89
Josh the Happy
September 21st, 2011 at 6:59 pm

FUCK google, at least they don’t censor as bad as bing.

 
 
#90
Guest
November 14th, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I came across this article doing a google search for your books torrent.  I can’t find it but this article was very interesting.

 
 
#91
Motovenom
December 12th, 2011 at 10:30 pm

eh, that’s ok, if the government get their way, they will be censoring the websites you can get to on the web anyways, so much for freedom….

 
 
#92
Fah Q
May 14th, 2013 at 1:09 am

Have you thought that maybe they are just trying to not get sued by the evil RIAA or litigious porno producers ? Facebbok did something similar in removing all links to TPB. I doubt that was censorship. Its just their lawyers watching their own AS*!

And please stop whining about your rights being threatened when you feel threatened that you thievery may one day come to an end.

 

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