Google Looks To Cut 'Funding' To 'Illegal' Sites It Doesn't Fund In The First Place

from the huh? dept

A few folks have pointed us to this odd article at the UK's Telegraph, in which it claims that Google is "in discussions with payment companies" to stop funding to "illegal download websites." There are a bunch of problems with this, with the first one being, huh? It's not clear what Google has to do with any of this. The article claims that Google is talking to Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, but why should that be any of Google's concern in the first place. All three of those payment providers are already quite well known for cutting off payments to sites they don't like, including sites accused of being involved in copyright infringement. So what good would further discussions do?

And, of course, really this sounds exactly like Google's response to SOPA. When quizzed about what should be done, Google supported what was called the "follow the money" approach, which was all about getting companies, like Visa, Mastercard and Paypal, to cut off funding to sites deemed to be "illegal." And, that was a component of SOPA -- which Google had hinted would be acceptable (which is yet another point that disproves the whole "SOPA only died because of Google" narrative, since Google would have been perfectly fine with a bill that was just "follow the money.")

If it's true that Google is looking to partner up with these payment processors under some sort of "voluntary" agreement, that's still confusing (what is Google's role here again?), but also quite troubling. The problem, as always, is how do you define "illegal" or sites "dedicated to copyright infringement." Once again, nearly every important technological breakthrough that later became a central piece to how we distribute, promote, consume and monetize content was initially decried for its "infringing" uses. The radio, cable TV, the VCR, the MP3 player, the DVR, YouTube and much much more were all declared "dedicated to infringing uses" by the industry who sought to make them all illegal. Imagine where YouTube would be if such a rule was in place, and their ability to make any revenue was completely barred by such a "voluntary" agreement? Imagine where the VCR would be if no one could sell them since payment processors would refuse to process them?

If this move goes through, it won't be good for the entertainment companies, though it could be good for Google, since it would effectively lock in players like YouTube, and really limit the ability of anyone else to jump into that market. The bizarre part is, of course, that this would be a result of the entertainment industry really pushing Google to do this sort of thing, even though it clearly works to their disadvantage. The end result would be fewer platforms and less competition in the space, giving the few dominant players today much more leverage.

Even so, such a move would still likely come back to bite Google too, because Google benefits from others pushing the innovation envelope as well, creating new markets and services that are good for Google. Cutting off innovative startups by declaring them "illegal" is likely to kill a bunch of good ideas that would have helped the entertainment industry, while still doing nothing of any significance to actually stop infringement.

Either way, if this report is accurate, like with Google caving to Hollywood's demands over search rankings, it won't satisfy Hollywood (nothing will), it won't stop infringement, but it likely will make consumers worse off by killing off important innovations. That's a shame. Furthermore, it would be yet another example of SOPA happening anyway, despite the protests against the law.

Hopefully the rumors (as confusing as they are) are just rumors and Google execs are smart enough not to bow down to such ridiculous pressure.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 7:30am

    Can someone answer this for me? Why is Google even so much as talking with Hollywood at this point, given that no matter what Google does, Hollywood is never happy? Surely, Google's management can see that. Why bother going through all this hassle if you're never so much as thanked for it, if all that's going to happen is that Hollywood is going to demonize you and call for more, more more?

     

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  2.  
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    Pixelation, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 7:33am

    "Google looks to cut funds to illegal sites"

    Do they then keep any ad revenues they owed to the owners of the sites? Maybe we should call them GooglePal.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 7:35am

    Re:

    To fend of the lawsuits by being in negotiation with them.

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 7:35am

    Google actions = FUD

    We all know that Google is the largest search engine (with a lot of problems in delivering good unbiased results) but the truth is that if Google farts the world seems to crinkle their nose. Why because they are too powerful in determining what sites get traffic.

    In the end multiplicity in search is a good thing. Who in this world wants a situation where are searches are forced on us?

    Google did not set out to become the target for all things good and bad. Google just wanted to make money. But the reality is that our SERPs are the result of years of trying to provide us with a result that is what we want. But for every search we did we ceded some control.

    And the results from our actions are that Google has become the big, bad Wolf.

     

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  5.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 7:48am

    Re: Google actions = FUD

    That comment was a bunch of FUD if you ask me.

    "Google just wanted to make money"

    Google's original mission statement: "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". Whatever you think they've become, they based their original business on actually delivering better results than the competition - which they did admirably.

    "But the reality is that our SERPs are the result of years of trying to provide us with a result that is what we want."

    Yes, and Google were the most successful at doing that for a long time, thus their relative dominance of the market. People started using Google instead of Yahoo, Lycos and Altavista because it gave better results.

    "But for every search we did we ceded some control."

    Not really, if you can be arsed to use the tools available to you to block Google's influence (some of them provided by Google themselves), they have no control over you. Just don't use their services if you don't like them.

    "In the end multiplicity in search is a good thing. Who in this world wants a situation where are searches are forced on us?"

    There is a multiplicity and nobody has any of it forced on them if they choose not to have it. What specific situation do you find yourself in where "searches are forced on you", by the way?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 7:50am

    Re:

    It stops Google from having to pay billions in legal fess in jurisdictions the world over? It's definitely wrong-headed from Google, but I find it hard to fault them from an expenditures perspective, as that money can be utilised to fund innovative projects, such as the Kansas City fiber ptoject.

     

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    Designerfx (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    Re:

    we have no idea. That's the whole problem. Where's the proof or acknowledgement? What is google even going to do?

    I asked the same thing yesterday.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re:

    And that just makes me sad. If even one of the biggest tech companies in the world, one who can buy Hollywood tomorrow and still have change left over if it wanted to, is scared of lawsuits...what hopes does the average joe have?

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    PaulT, you are a smart and without a single doubt an informed commenter. But you are not looking at it from the perspective of the average user.

    The average user does not have a clue about the tools Google provides to properly filter results. As for your statement "There is a multiplicity and nobody has any of it forced on them if they choose not to have it. What specific situation do you find yourself in where "searches are forced on you", by the way?". It is simply put wrong.

    Not forced like a barrel of a gun to the mouth, but pushed by convention and habit.

    PaulT, the multiplicity is not defined by reality it is defined the flow of money. And who people know.

     

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    Devils_Advocate (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:10am

    Google is still just a company...

    The questions that really needs to be asked here are:

    1) Why is Google being treated like it has some kind of "authority" to "police" the Internet??

    2) Why should any private enterprise be able to interfere with the business of any other (including the payment companies involved)??

    Is Google big?... Of course it is.
    Is Google important?... Naturally.
    But, that doesn't automatically appoint Google as some sort of "Sheriff"!

    Google is still a company. No company has any right to arbitrarily fuck with anyone else's rightful ability to do business and/or receive online revenue. There's a whole slew of laws, national and international, about that kind of behaviour.

    It's disturbing to see the World continue to even placate The Big Corporate Machine with this idea that laws can be written, rewritten, and enforced by private enterprise - without courts, judges, police, charges, trials, due process, or even any actual AUTHORITY - for reasons that only benefit themselves, the rest of the world, be damned!

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    " but pushed by convention and habit."

    And people can't change habits because...?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    "The average user does not have a clue about the tools Google provides to properly filter results."

    They have the exact same tools to use a different search engine. If they're too stupid to do this, then I have the same contempt for them as I did for anyone clueless enough to keep using IE6 for years after better competitors were available to them. Maybe they're too dumb to install the ad filters, but are Google really to blame if they can't work out how to type ask.com or bing.com instead of google.com?

    "Not forced like a barrel of a gun to the mouth, but pushed by convention and habit."

    So, your argument is that because people are so accustomed to using Yahoo in 1998, they'll never use Google? Because they're used to Nokia they'll never switch to Samsung? Because Sega dominate the videogame world nobody will use that newfangled Sony thing? That this is all bad because consumers are too stupid to exercise choice even when provided with it?

    Sorry, but you've gone from arguing that Google are dangerous and greedy to arguing that the problem you have with them is that people are used to using them and they dominate because they are a common brandname. Talk about FUD.

    "PaulT, the multiplicity is not defined by reality it is defined the flow of money. And who people know."

    So, what's stopping Microsoft from dominating the market then?

    Again, you're presenting a silly argument that only seems to consist of "Google are the most popular so they must be bad". I don't buy it. You levelled specific criticisms against Google, and you haven't managed to defend one of them.

    There's plenty to criticise Google for, but being popular because they became successful at providing the service they promised isn't one of them.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:29am

    It sounds like a scheme to promote Bitcoin. I'm sure that isn't Google's intent, neither is it the intent of the companies pushing Google to do this. But it is inevitable that traditional traditional funding sources become a nanny-state enforcement mechanism the payments will simply move to a more anonymous and difficult-to-track system.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    Re:

    Cynical though: they want to appease Hollywood long enough to supplant them. By strengthening Hollywood's power structure they strengthen their own future power structure. It's hinted at a bit in the article, with a Google product established in several spaces it behooves them to work together 'voluntarily' with Hollywood and payment processors to block competitive alternatives.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    Because they are habits? Have you meet like any people at all?

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    PaulT, So to answer you on some points.

    People are driven by what they know. They are always slow to change. If you don't know that I am sorry. Google did not become the dominate search engine overnight.

    I can tell you from years of experience that people are not even sure what the address bar is. More often than not they just type in the default search bar installed on their computer. They don't chose. They accede. My point is that people should decide, but they choose to just do what is easy.

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    what hopes does the average joe have?

    The average joe is a lawyer for the prosecution (at least that's what the one that visits this site seems to want to be)

     

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    Anonymous Cowherd, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:57am

    Google is past that point in a successful company's life where they've become big and old enough that "protecting" what they have by shutting down the competition is deemed more profitable than creating anything new.

     

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    DanZee (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    UK Telegraph

    I think the writer is confused about what the story really is about. It's difficult to speculate what the true nature of the story is from this article. I did a Google search, and all of the stories about this are quoting the Telegraph article, so apparently the Telegraph is the only news source on this story and if it was misstated and misunderstood, it is simply spreading that throughout the Internet right now.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Re:

    Bitcoin is widely criticized, and the critics have their points, but as payment processors become targeted more frequently, demand for Bitcoin-style decentralized money transfer systems can only increase.

    Of course, those systems might aid mobsters and drug lords and such, but law enforcement has only itself to blame for putting "supporting sites that support piracy" on the same tier as "supporting money laundering".

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    The average user does not have a clue about the tools Google provides to properly filter results.

    That's the entire point. The average user shouldn't *need* to have a clue about how Google works. The average user only cares about the result - they search for something on Google, and find what they want. If they don't find what they want, they'll go someplace else (assuming a free market and competition).

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    The article claims that Google is talking to Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, but why should that be any of Google's concern in the first place.

    Because Google sees dollar signs in the monetization of content. Piracy is viewed as bad for the future of its business. Google does what's good for Google. It's that simple.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:32am

    Re: UK Telegraph

    Precisely. The Telegraph article itself doesn't have a single link in to anything else, so for all I know, they made the whole thing up. They don't have a source or anything verifying their story.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:38am

    Re: Google is still just a company...

    It's disturbing to see the World continue to even placate The Big Corporate Machine with this idea that laws can be written, rewritten, and enforced by private enterprise - without courts, judges, police, charges, trials, due process, or even any actual AUTHORITY - for reasons that only benefit themselves, the rest of the world, be damned!

    It's not laws, but business practices. Look at the merchant TOS For a payment processor. Dealing in unlawful activity is prohibited. Google is just reporting to them who is doing it since they have a better insight. No courts required! Sorry.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:38am

    Re:

    I am pretty sure that Google will release the above mentioned or something to that extend as an answer to the EU commission inquire. So the answer is that Hollywood is only a small part of the problem for them. Nasty french journalists, restaurants and map-drawers, some shady commercial praxis on the part of Google and several more or less direct competitors are really beating the commish to scroogle google!

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: UK Telegraph

    Precisely. The Telegraph article itself doesn't have a single link in to anything else, so for all I know, they made the whole thing up. They don't have a source or anything verifying their story.

    Keep hoping.

     

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    crade (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Google's role unfortunately is probably to identify which sites should be cut off.

     

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    Devils_Advocate (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:03am

    "Horse", then "Cart"...

    @AC (#24):

    "Cart before the horse" #1...
    "It's not laws, but business practices."

    These "business practices" are breaking existing laws, and buying new laws to suit that purpose.

    "Cart before the horse" #2...
    "Dealing in unlawful activity is prohibited."

    Unlawful activity is supposed to be defined by existing laws, and the courts, and enforced by police agencies - not by private enterprise.

    While you may have the right, as the owner/operator of a site, to accept or deny whatever traffic you wish, the same doesn't apply to those who offer services for compensation - particularly services that are now considered essential. Services like PayPal or VISA can't just arbitrarily pull their services, simply because of baseless propaganda

    When this same stunt was pulled on WikiLeaks, the legal systems involved did determine that cutting off these services was illegal, and ordered the accounts reinstated. It is only through the willful involvement of the U.S. Government that PayPal, VISA, et al are able to continue to interfere with WikiLeaks' revenue stream.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:05am

    Hang On...

    Just off the top of my head:

    Google Groups is illegal in Turkey, and UseNet has been used for filesharing for ages.
    Blogger is illegal in China and a bunch of other countries, and first-releases of warez/filmz typically happen on blogs.
    Picassa is illegal in China, and they have a huge amount of copyright violation going on.
    Google TV is blocked by Viacom, Fox, and a bunch of other stations. Using it to watch their content is illegal.
    YouTube, each day, has more minutes of video taken down for infringement than there are actual minutes in a day. It's illegal in a whole lot of countries.

    What do these sites all have in common? They're all owned by Google.

     

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    ChronoFish (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:18am

    Re: Google actions = FUD

    "In the end multiplicity in search is a good thing. Who in this world wants a situation where are searches are forced on us? "

    I agree. I'm going to use Google. What are you going to use?

     

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    Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Correction... he's a wanna be lawyer that is supposedly still in law school but based on his post history he has almost no grasp of actual legal concepts and he seems to study at the Monty Python School of Arguing...

     

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  32.  
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    Nicholas Weaver (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:52am

    This is already done...

    Cutting off the credit card funding is how both the pharmaceutical spammers and "OEM Software" spammers have been largely driven out of business:
    http://www.cs.gmu.edu/~mccoy/papers/CCS12Priceless.pdf

    Google doesn't need to do this: the copyright holders need to do it. And they can. They just have to care enough to do so.

     

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    Gracey (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    A habit, by nature, is a personal choice. It is YOUR habit, and up to you to change it if you don't like it.

    Why do people insist on blaming someone or something else for THEIR OWN choices?

    Nobody is forced to use Google search. If they're too dense to pick their own search engine whose fault is that?

    Oh wait ... of course, it's Google's fault. Why not. Just about everything web related appears to be Google's fault.

     

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    Gracey (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    [People are driven by what they know. They are always slow to change. If you don't know that I am sorry. ]

    And this makes it Google's fault because people are slow? If you don't know that people are responsible for their own actions, then I am sorry about that, but people need to learn something called "responsibility" ... have it. Use it. It's good.

    [I can tell you from years of experience that people are not even sure what the address bar is.]

    That's true. I know lots of them too. However, it is their own fault for not exercising their own choice to learn or to drown on the web. It isn't Google's responsibility (nor anyone else's) to force netintelligence on them either.

    My dad always told me "if you don't know how it works, learn. If you don't want to learn, don't use it."

    My dad didn't even finish grade 8, but he was a smarter man than most guys I know who finished university.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 11:40am

    Re: "Horse", then "Cart"...

    "Cart before the horse" #1...

    "It's not laws, but business practices."

    These "business practices" are breaking existing laws, and buying new laws to suit that purpose.


    Really? Which ones? Has any payment processor or ad network been charged or sued over this?

    "Cart before the horse" #2...

    "Dealing in unlawful activity is prohibited."

    Unlawful activity is supposed to be defined by existing laws, and the courts, and enforced by police agencies - not by private enterprise.


    Not if a good faith belief exists. Maybe you should read a TOS and learn something about the law so you're not reduced to arguing the point from the perspective of how you wish things were.

    While you may have the right, as the owner/operator of a site, to accept or deny whatever traffic you wish, the same doesn't apply to those who offer services for compensation - particularly services that are now considered essential. Services like PayPal or VISA can't just arbitrarily pull their services, simply because of baseless propaganda

    See good faith belief explanation above. And guess what? The guys we're talking about are the ones getting tons of DMCA takedown notices who actually are infringing.

    When this same stunt was pulled on WikiLeaks, the legal systems involved did determine that cutting off these services was illegal, and ordered the accounts reinstated. It is only through the willful involvement of the U.S. Government that PayPal, VISA, et al are able to continue to interfere with WikiLeaks' revenue stream.

    Different set of facts entirely. If the pirate sites wish, they can go to court to have their service reinstated. Though there'd be a line of process servers around the block waiting to serve civil suits for infringement and they'd probably be arrested for commercial infringement as soon as they got off the plane. Maybe that pussy Assange should come to the US to sue them too.

     

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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    "Google does what's good for Google"

    This is the prerogative of every business.

    With Google in particular, people can claim they're facilitating piracy but the connection is vague at best. For example, some people liken Google to a transportation service. In the real world, you can't prevent a cab company from delivering someone to a drug dealer's house. It'd be in the best interests of the cab company, however, to avoid doing that, but attempting to discern where a drug dealer lives when the front of his house looks like every other house on the block is almost impossible (Google has also stated that it's difficult to tell if certain content is "unauthorized").

    To be honest, this one of my biggest complaints about what Hollywood is doing. They claim Google is helping spur on piracy and it's costing them so much money, yet they expect other companies to lose money/consumers to help them out.

     

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  37.  
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    Rekrul, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    The average user does not have a clue about the tools Google provides to properly filter results.

    They don't have to. As of about a month ago, Google made moderate filtering MANDATORY for all users. As in you can't turn it off. Strangely, the majority of net news sites, including Techdirt, have refused to even acknowledge this.

     

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  38.  
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    Rekrul, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:09pm

    The problem, as always, is how do you define "illegal" or sites "dedicated to copyright infringement.

    That's easy; You just ask the entertainment industry. They know an illegal site when they see one, and they never make mistakes...

     

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    Devils_Advocate (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: "Horse", then "Cart"...

    "Has any payment processor or ad network been charged or sued over this?"

    Since the financial services discussed (PayPal, etc.) have really only done this once in the public's view, that case (WikiLeaks) is the only reference point so far. And that's part of the argument.

    "Not if a good faith belief exists"

    This is a condition that needs to be determined in court, before permitting action on the part of a private company. Also part of the argument.

    "Maybe you should read a TOS and learn something about the law..."

    A TOS has nothing to do with law.
    And laws cannot be enforced by private enterprise through the use of the TOS. Enforcement is still in the hands of authority, when withdrawing a service on those grounds. Again, part of the argument.

    If you're going to argue about law, you need to refer to law.

    "Different set of facts entirely."

    The only thing different about the WikiLeaks case is that the supposed "crimes" being cited were considered far worse than something like "piracy". Yet, the Judge ruled in favour of WikiLeaks, despite the continued interference of the U.S. Government. If anything that strengthens the argument, and illustrates the need for accountability all the way to the top of the food chain.

    "If the pirate sites wish, they can go to court..."

    I find it interesting that you'd consider it alright to "prosecute" such pirates OUTSIDE of actual LAWS, by cutting off services, finances, and/or accounts... YET have the "accused" actually have to go through the legal system to defend themselves (and in a disadvantaged state before the whole thing started, to boot!).

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: "Horse", then "Cart"...

    That's the way business relationships work. They're covered by the agreement between the parties until one of the parties claim their contractual rights have been violated. Then it's off to court. I don't know why this seems foreign to you. Maybe if you simply read a TOS from PayPal you'd understand. And once again, no matter how much you wish and hope- terms of service -not laws are what is being enforced by the payment processors. It's the same underpinnings as six strikes. The ISP's aren't claiming that you violated the law, but the TOS. That it might also violate the law is meaningless in the relationship and no determination needs to be made. If you have a problem with that, don't use the service or if you're accused of violating the TOS, go to court.

     

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  41.  
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    Devils_Advocate (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:51pm

    Re: This is already done...

    Ultimately, the action you're referring to was not carried out by private enterprise. It was likely a request by researchers, authorized by a court order on a one-time basis (new orders need to be filed for any future such projects), and carried out by law enforcement, with the cooperation of selective banks, who definitely would asked to see a court order before doing anything.

    "the copyright holders need to do it. And they can."

    No, they can't. "Copyright holders" don't have that kind of authority to screw with anyone's finances without a court order, and the involvement of law enforcement.

    That's the argument.

    What fuckin' right does a copyright holder (or Google) have to act arbitrarily as judge, jury and executioner?? They're private entities, whose interests are directly tied into such actions, and not entitled to practice law enforcement in the first place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re:

    Figuring out new ways to scam people is as old as dirt. So is the process of doling out punishment for such behavior.

    Nothing new or different here in the least.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    Really? Okay, hang on, I'll be beack, gonna look up lolicon on Google Image. Okay a search for "lolicon hentai" returns some pretty disgusting imagery, so gonna call BS on your mandatory filtering.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: "Horse", then "Cart"...

    I'm not gonna get back into this argument again. I once spent over twelve hours doing so.
    Simply put, you're wrong.
    I am just going to leave you with this question though.

    Let's say you're right, and that the law is not being involved in any way whatsoever, that it's all down to TOS and TOS alone. Why the fuck would Hollywood be worried at all whether someone was violating a separate website's TOS? The TOS of Google and Youtube has nothing to do with Hollywood.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you ask me you are being mighty generous with him.
    I wouldn't describe him in such a nice way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    "I can tell you from years of experience that people are not even sure what the address bar is."

    Actually, I agree with this and my personal experience has told me to the same. However, I disagree with your original assertion that this makes Google at fault. Many of the public will gravitate toward big brand names, especially in the technology space, where many people literally have no idea what they're buying in the first place. But, to blame Google for this gravitation toward known brand names is rather silly. That, quite frankly, is what your original post was doing. Google happen to be the biggest brand, but in time this may fade, as it has done many times in the past. In the meantime, if you object to their business practices - don't use them.

    We can agree that Google isn't perfect, that they may overstep their boundaries occasionally, that certain parts of their business model demands close attention. But, to assign the ignorance of some of their potential customers to their fame? You might as well picket outside McDonalds because their customers haven't turned vegan.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    For all it is worth it, Google still don't have legislation that grants them a monopoly on search results and as long as stay that way for better or for worse I don't really care what Google does, I know they will turn evil at some point specially when the visionaries and founders get replaced by the lawyers and accountants in the management level but for now Google is a natural monopoly, it is catering to the whims and wishes of the majority of people and they vote by using it, when that is not the case any longer they will move on to other places and since there are not artificial barriers Google could die and be allowed to die in peace at that point.

    Laws are the responsibility of the people the interest in those laws is the interest of the people and Google is just a fraction of that whole as are other companies.

    We allow them to take control, we allowed them to do that crap, by not organizing, and sure as day they took and will take advantage of that until the time that people do something about it.

    Those people are the people coming up with ideas for laws, drafts and other crap, and what is the public actually doing?
    Nothing, that is what we are doing, and that is why we get abused.

    When people start doing the work is the day people will gain some respect, right now we don't deserve it, we let others do all the work for us and just complain about it, that is bad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Goyo, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    Still, people having habits and being slow to change is not like anything being forced on them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Horse", then "Cart"...

    I don't know why you're invoking "Hollywood" other than- like Google- they are interested in monetizing content and oppose piracy and freeloaders. They also understand that the legal system does a poor job of dealing with infringing. So they turn to enforcement via the TOS. It's not illegal, it's not complicated and it will prove very effective.

    The big question is that now Google has shown its true colors (Do no evil, unless we benefit by it) will Masnick continue to work for them and will all of the delusional Google fanboys here on TD continue to fawn over them and make excuses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Goyo, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    Still, people having habits and being slow to change is not like anything being forced on them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Goyo, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: "Horse", then "Cart"...

    "The ISP's aren't claiming that you violated the law, but the TOS."
    Yeah. That part of the TOS which says that dealing in unlawful activity is prohibited.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: "Horse", then "Cart"...

    This is a condition that needs to be determined in court, before permitting action on the part of a private company. Also part of the argument.

    No, not before. You don't need the permission of the court first. Where the hell did that come from? What if the power company claims you didn't pay the bill? Do they have to go to court to cut off your lights? Try it and find out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Horse", then "Cart"...

    Yeah. That part of the TOS which says that dealing in unlawful activity is prohibited.

    How about that? Except the company defines what it believes "unlawful".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: This is already done...

    Ultimately, the action you're referring to was not carried out by private enterprise. It was likely a request by researchers, authorized by a court order on a one-time basis (new orders need to be filed for any future such projects), and carried out by law enforcement, with the cooperation of selective banks, who definitely would asked to see a court order before doing anything.


    You don't have a citation for this fairy tale do you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    First I never said Google is to blame for anything. They have succeeded in becoming the default search engine.

    I am just plain confused by the comments. PaulT you are reading in to the comments meanings not present in the words written.

    I did not complain about Google or say they did anything wrong. Nor did I say it is or is not a bad thing that people are slow to change.

    I just stated relative truths.

    And I also think that people should be responsible for their own actions. Again never complained just stated they choose not to change.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    Really? Okay, hang on, I'll be beack, gonna look up lolicon on Google Image. Okay a search for "lolicon hentai" returns some pretty disgusting imagery, so gonna call BS on your mandatory filtering.

    The filtering isn't perfect, but it's a fact that you now can't turn it off. Previously the SafeSearch options used to be Off, Moderate & Strict. They removed the Off option and replaced the others with Show most relevant results and Filter explicit results. These are equivalent to the old Moderate and Strict options, with no way to turn off the filtering.

    Some people have said that mobile browsers can still turn off the filtering, but I think that's more of an oversight or something they haven't gotten around to changing yet. All the sites accessed by browsers on a computer (Firefox, IE, etc) have been neutered.

    Still don't believe me? Try searching for the word "blowjob" and see how many images of the actual act you get.

    If you want to learn more, try this discussion on Google Groups, which is linked right from the official Google Search Forum;

    https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/websearch/google-images/WIPzdBq6E4 Y

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2013 @ 9:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    Try turning it off (you most certainly can) and search for 'sucking a dick.' It's something you seem to be doing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    techflaws (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    The average user does not have a clue about the tools Google provides to properly filter results.

    [citation needed]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    I know its unlikely I'll get a reply this late, but guess what I just did? I went to Google Image Search, searched for blowjob, and well, I got images girls giving head. Turns out that yes, you are full of crap.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    techflaws (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    My point is that people should decide, but they choose to just do what is easy.

    And how again is that Google's fault?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 19th, 2013 @ 11:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    So, again, your argument has gone from "Google has become the big, bad Wolf" to "most mainstream consumers are either too dumb to know they have a choice outside of major brand names, or too ignorant to know how to exercise said choice".

    I agree with the latter, but that's not what you were originally saying. The latter assertion is also not Google's doing, nor does it guarantee dominance in the future.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    "First I never said Google is to blame for anything"

    But, you criticised their success all the same.

    I apologise if I ended up reading something into the comment that wasn't there, but I honestly don't know what the point of your first comment was if not to criticise Google. Yes, they're big, but they don't have anywhere near 100% of their core search market (recent reports suggest 67%). Consumers have choice, even if many don't exercise it, and no monopoly exists.

    If you didn't mean to criticise them, perhaps you should be clearer in your meaning, or the point you're trying to make.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:08am

    Re: Re: UK Telegraph

    The newspaper is nicknamed the "torygraph" due to its right-wing stance, something it shares with such journalistic shining lights as the Sun and the Daily Mail. It's not as likely that they'd invent something from whole cloth as those other papers, but it's no impossible...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Horse", then "Cart"...

    No, the real question is why you waste so much time on blatant lies that have been proven false uncountable times, and why your obsession only lets you single out Mike and Google, even though you look both silly and hypocritical in the process.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    Try turning it off (you most certainly can)

    Really? Would you care to point out where the "Off" option is in this screenshot of the SafeSearch options from the Advanced Image Search page;

    http://s17.postimage.org/kt2x7mfgv/capture_001_20022013_095028.png

    All I see is "Show most relevant results" and "Filter explicit results". These are also the exact same options when show up on the results page;

    http://s3.postimage.org/57us9a65f/capture_001_20022013_095547.png

    Please point out where the "Off" option is hiding.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    Then explain this;

    http://s17.postimage.org/piem7mle7/capture_001_20022013_094840.png

    Notice that the option to "Filter explicit results" is NOT checked.

    Why it that over 200 people from around the world have posted to the discussion page I linked above confirming that they can no longer turn off SafeSearch?

    Look at the screenshots I posted in response to the AC above. Read the discussion where a Google representative confirms that they DID change the search pages.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    It's not hiding, you've just completely misunderstood the options.

    On the first page, "show most relevant results" means it's not filtering. If you go to your search settings page, you will have an option telling you that you can turn the safesearch ON, indicating that it's currently turned off.

    On the second, the option for "filter explicit results" is a toggle. Click it and it's checked and the title changes to "safesearch on". Click again to toggle off. Your screenshot shows it turned off.

    You seem to be whining that since "off" is no longer an option therefore assuming that it's on by default. It's not - it's OFF by default, you're just misinterpreting the options you have to turn it on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    jsf (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:28am

    What About Google Wallet

    This may actually have something to do with "illegal" sites using Google Wallet for various things. Just as PayPal doesn't want to be used for activities that are actually illegal, I would guess Google doesn't want to be in the same situation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Goyo, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Horse", then "Cart"...

    No. If the company are *claiming* than you violate the TOS, then the company is *claiming* (not just believing) that your activity is unlawful, so the company claims you violate the law. Against what you (or someone called like you) said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    Then why is it that when I perform an image search for the word "blowjob", which is about as un-ambiguous as you can get, I get these results;

    http://s17.postimage.org/piem7mle7/capture_001_20022013_094840.png

    Note that the option to filter explicit results is NOT checked.

    You say that if the "Filter explicit results" option isn't checked, then the filter is turned off. If that's the case, why does an image search for the word "blowjob" not contain a single explicit image?

    Here's another search that should contain at least one explicit images, but doesn't, even though the filter is supposedly turned off;

    http://s7.postimage.org/9rxq1wh23/capture_001_20022013_180836.png

    Ok, the first image, which is a drawing could be considered to be explicit, but there should be a lot more.

    I'd post more, but including too many URLs in one message will trigger the spam filter here.

    The point is that simple, one-word searches like these should return explicit images if the filter is truly turned off, but they don't. Try typing the same thing into Bing's image search with their filter turned off and see what you get.

    No matter how you spin it, the results are being filtered.

    It's true that there are certain word combinations you can enter to get it to show you at least some explicit results, but by default and with the most intuitive search query you could possibly enter, it filters out the explicit results no matter what the SafeSearch setting.

    People will say that this is about wanting to find porn, but it's not. It's about not being able to trust the results for any given search. How can you ever be sure you're seeing all the matches that Google has if you have to play guessing games to get around the mandatory filter? And why should you have to play the equivalent of an 80s text adventure to get the results that you want?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    icon
    Bergman (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:34pm

    You know, there are several possible interpretations of "copyright infringement"

    Technically speaking, ANY violation of copyright law could be considered an infringement of copyright.

    For example, copyright law is not one-way. Consumers have rights under the law too. Denying someone those statutory rights is just as much a violation of copyright law as unauthorized copying is.

    It would be a delicious irony to see payment processors cut off Hollywood, for violating copyright law...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 12:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    "Then why is it that when I perform an image search for the word "blowjob", which is about as un-ambiguous as you can get, I get these results;"

    I don't know, but I get different results. The first 2 images are the same for me, the 3rd is a different meme image, the fourth is a girl with a cock in her mouth. Similarly, I see oral sex on the 5th result on your second search example. I can post images if you really want proof, but I don't really see the point.

    I don't know what your settings are or what may be different (many criteria will be unique to you). Perhaps you have a plugin installed, or they're using your browser history to determine that you're usually searching for silly photos rather than porn. All I can say is that I have safesearch turned off, and I'm seeing explicit photos.

    "How can you ever be sure you're seeing all the matches that Google has if you have to play guessing games to get around the mandatory filter?"

    Simple - you NEVER see all the search results from ANY search site. They are always filtered in terms of a great many criteria, which may include things like location, search history, pageranks, etc. But Google are not filtering results by default on my machine at least.

    "And why should you have to play the equivalent of an 80s text adventure to get the results that you want?"

    Is someone forcing you to use Google now? Use something else instead of whining. But whatever site you choose, they will have an algorithm that will put images it thinks are more relevant at top, even if their assumption proves wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    I don't know, but I get different results. The first 2 images are the same for me, the 3rd is a different meme image, the fourth is a girl with a cock in her mouth. Similarly, I see oral sex on the 5th result on your second search example. I can post images if you really want proof, but I don't really see the point.

    Now I'm confused. I just cleared my cache (I've done that before and it never made any difference in the past) and now I get some explicit images, although the results are still dominated by meme images. Also, other searches, such as for the word "tits" only return a tiny fraction of explicit images with most being bikini photos, meme images, etc.

    I'm not the only one having this problem. The discussion I linked to has hundreds of posts from other people who are seeing the same thing.

    I don't know what your settings are or what may be different (many criteria will be unique to you). Perhaps you have a plugin installed, or they're using your browser history to determine that you're usually searching for silly photos rather than porn.

    I don't have any plugins or extensions installed that are intended to affect search results, the cache, or Google. Just stuff like Tab Mix Plus, Download Helper, etc.

    As for my history; If that's what's happening here, they've confused me with someone else. Also, if that is the case, thei is a perfect example of why companies shouldn't be allowed to track you on the net. When I search for something, I want to see results that match what I searched for NOW, not results that the search page thinks I might want to see based on something I searched for in the past.

    Imagine if you walked into a restaurant, ordered a steak and they brought you a salmon steak because that's what you've ordered in the past.

    Simple - you NEVER see all the search results from ANY search site.

    I meant being filtered based on someone else's idea of what's morally acceptable.

    Is someone forcing you to use Google now? Use something else instead of whining.

    The problem is that Google offers more options than any other search engine. For example, using the advanced search page, you can search for results only on a single site. I can't find that option on sites like Bing, DuckDuckGo or AltaVista. I can't find an option to do a reverse image search (where you upload an image and it finds similar ones) on any other site. Or the option to display a cached version of the page which hi-lights the search words in difference colors.

    But whatever site you choose, they will have an algorithm that will put images it thinks are more relevant at top, even if their assumption proves wrong.

    Can you please explain something to me? By what leap of logic would anyone assume that a person searching for the words "blowjob" or "tits" would want to see predominantly meme images? If a person wanted to see meme images, wouldn't they be searching for "blowjob meme" or "tits meme"?

    A few months ago, you would have gotten almost nothing but explicit images, now the search results are dominated by results that are only somewhat related to what you searched for. It's like searching for the word "car" and having the results dominated by the "Canadian Airborne Regiment". Sure, some people might refer to it by by its initials, but 99% of the time, anyone searching for the word "car" is looking for the vehicle.

    A search engine is supposed to present the most relevant results for the query that people enter. Why is Google going out of its way to show results that barely have any connection to the actual query? The fact that explicit search queries are returning a ton of non-explicit results, even with the filters supposedly turned off smacks of moral censorship to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 12:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google actions = FUD

    OK, let's put this to rest. Google have made quite well publicised changes to their search algorithms in recent months. They take into account all sorts of information that wasn't previously considered. What this means is that searches are unique to each user, especially for single word searches.

    You seem to have taken one of these changes (the wording in the safesearch options), and extrapolated that out into an assumption that you're being censored. You're not. However, if you find that Google's results are no longer returning what you find useful, you have a choice - continue using Google for the features you want, or use a less full featured search engine for what you think is "uncensored".

    However, this is NOT Google censoring you, and SafeSearch is NOT turned on by default. Got it?

    "The fact that explicit search queries are returning a ton of non-explicit results, even with the filters supposedly turned off smacks of moral censorship to me."

    No, it doesn't, that's just your assumption. Perhaps there's some meme sites that are particularly popular or well versed in SEO, skewing results in the same way that blog sites did a few years ago. Perhaps you just need to be more specific with your search results - for example if you typed "hardcore blowjob" or "porn blowjob", does that return results that weren't showing up in your previous search? I get a fuckton of explicit images.

    Whatever your problem, it's not Google acting as a moral censor, no matter how much you claim it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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