Project meeting

Google to “highlight” legal sites in latest piracy battle

In an attempt to combat online piracy Google has announced plans to change the way people find sites to download material.

Download

At the moment, anyone performing a simple web search is presented with a vast choice of illegal sources, where they can choose to download what they wish (at their own risk of course).

But if Google have their way, anybody wishing to find sites to download music, games or films they will be directed towards legal outlets like Google Play and Spotify.

The search engine’s preferred services will now be displayed in a box at the top of the search results, as well as  on the right-hand side of the page.

Google has also added extra measures to doctor its search results so that links pointing to illegal content fall lower in results, with legal sites floating to the top.

But there is a catch.

Essentially these boxes are just adverts, so if the illegal sites wish to pay Google to promote their services, there is nothing preventing them doing so.

 

Google search now

At the moment, simple  Google searches can unearth a whole host of illegal sites.

 

New Google search

But changes will mean we are directed to sites which Google deems to be more “acceptable.”

The music business and Google have been involved in a bitter row over the issue of downgrading search results for quite a while now with illegal sites often ranking higher than official outlets such as iTunes.

Google claim to be reluctant to tamper with “organic” results, but has backed down somewhat following government pressure.

So no doubt music industry organisations such as the British Phonographic industry (BPI) will be monitoring the situation closely.