With New Search Parameters, Google May Actually be Taking Action to Cut Down on Pirated Material

What happened to you Google? You used to be cool.

As part of their collaboration with the film and music industry, Google is working on modifying its search engine parameters to filter out pirated material. Google’s current search method works off of hundreds of variables to determine which webpages are the most relevant to your search. The largest factor is possibly your page rank, which is determined, in part, by how many sites link from you.

A new variable will soon be added, however, that takes into account the number of valid copyright removal notices a site receives. Basically, the more that a site receives, the lower they fall on the overall search rankings. Since Google is processing more copyright claims than ever before, they feel that they are primed to recognize sites with pirated material, and divert searchers to legal sites like Hulu, and Spotify instead for their content needs.

So far the Recording Industry Association of America, and the Motion Picture Association of America are both highly supportive of this move as they feel it represents the largest step ever taken by Google to protect copyrights and combat piracy, and are happy to be getting support from one of the biggest companies in opposition against the recent Stop Online Piracy Act bill.

I’m not as convinced. This surely sounds like a proper move by Google, but really how much is it going to help? For one thing, can even Google process enough copyright claims in time to shut down that many websites from appearing in top hits, and even if they can couldn’t you just go to page 2, or *gasp* 3 on your search to find the site? Also, wouldn’t smaller sites with the same material just pop up instead in specific search results as the bigger ones go down, creating an endless loop of fresh pirated material? Speaking of search hits, will this still filter out specific searches? In the interest of not outing anyone, if I search say, Swashbuckler’s Cove for a torrent of “Game of Thrones,” wouldn’t Google still take me directly there regardless of the copyright claims?

What’s even better is that no mention of the Google owned YouTube is found in any of the statements on this matter. You know, one of the world’s most popular and prolific websites where just about any copyrighted material can be found free of charge (except for porn of course, in which case you need to go to PornTube, YouPorn, or PornPorn).

So wait a minute. Is it possible that Google just pulled a fast one on the continually technologically ignorant music and film industries by doing something to please them, while effectively doing nothing to aid them?

Pretty sneaky Google.

Google adds Goggles to its mobile iPhone app

Google Goggles for the iPhone.

Google is about the only company that can make me sad to be an iPhone owner. Any time Google rolls out a spiffy new app for the mobile market, I die a little inside, knowing I probably won’t get to use it any time soon. Take Google Goggles, the service that allows you to search by what the camera on your phone can see. It debuted last December for Android users, and it has just now made its way to the iPhone.

Despite the long wait, the app is as cool as ever. Google built the new function into the standard Google Mobile app, which already allows you to search by text and voice. Here’s the official word from the Google blog:

In the new version of Google Mobile App just tap on the camera button to search using Goggles. Goggles will analyze the image and highlight the objects it recognizes — just click on them to find out more.

Though Goggles is still technically a “Labs” feature, Google says it works well for things like landmarks and logos, and that it will continue to improve for objects like animals and food.