GOOGLE'S PROMISES to crack down on piracy related search results have backfired dramatically, with a series of sources of pirate material featuring front and centre of search results.
TorrentFreak found that using Google.com (local variants don't work, because EU and that), a search for streaming services that includes "best torrent sites" still highlights pirate sites alongside legal services.
What's even funnier is that when we tried it, there were the results from the Knowledge Graph (see screengrab), a list of the best torrent sites from TorrentFreak, and then a list of news stories about how Google isn't doing a very good job of hiding its piracy results. Face and indeed palm.
A Google Spokesperson told Engadget: "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."
Even more confusingly, searching for "streaming sites" puts a mixture of legal and illegal sites side by side. In the TorrentFreak test, which we reran with similar results (again, UK only), it showed Putlocker as the first result. Putlocker hosts links to illegal files. Alongside it were legal sites like Crackle, Hulu and Viewster. Note that Netflix wasn't on the list, and neither was Google's own streaming service.
The algorithm definitely seems to favour "free" services throughout. The first regular listing under "streaming sites" is actually Spotify.
Google had pledged it was going to make piracy harder to find from June 1st, so this is all a bit embarrassing. Last year it received 100,000 requests to remove pirated content links every hour.
Meanwhile the UK government are striking down with vengeance and furious paper in the most British way possible, by writing to people it suspects of piracy, via their ISP and asking them if they'd be awfully kind and stop it and subscribe to Netflix or one of those new-fangled televisual services and please and thank you very much and rather and good. µ
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