As of Friday, if you were planning on engaging in a little bit of torrent, Rapidshare or Megaupload downloading and were going to use Google to find your nefarious wares, you might have found that you had to type a few more characters than usual. The search giants appear to have opted for the quiet life and in order to placate the RIAA and MPAA, they have blocked Rapidshare, Megaupload and torrent autocomplete results. The question I have to ask is “Does anyone really think this is going to make a difference?”
A quick Google shows that these results are still in the search engine’s index, you just have to type the whole thing in now. Essentially, the extent of this block is that the terms won’t come up as you type in the search box. If you’re a really lazy pirate, you may be cursing their name, but chances are, most people who download from these services won’t be deterred by typing in an extra word.
Strangely, terms such as “How do I get my daughter to sleep with me”, “How to kidnap a child” and “How to make methamphetamine” are still autocompleting and this really distils the war on online piracy to me. Stealing is wrong and I do not condone downloading music, films, software or anything else that you didn’t pay for, but do I think it’s worse than kidnapping children or making drugs or explosives? No, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a reasonable person than disagrees, but that’s another discussion for another time.
Ultimately, I don’t think this is going to have any kind of impact on the amount of files shared, but it might help make results a little clearer for users of Google Instant, and I suppose that’s the best we can hope for, for now at least.