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BitTorrent returns to Google search's auto-complete

After striving to rework its image and prove it doesn't deal in piracy, BitTorrent is quietly allowed back into the Web giant's auto-complete search suggestions.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

One of the ways that Google deals with sites that infringe on music, movies, video games, and software copyrights is to block them from showing up in its search engine's auto-complete suggestions.

Although BitTorrent claims never to have dealt in piracy, it is one such site that has been blocked for years. Now, it appears that Google has quietly allowed BitTorrent back into the fold.

Previously, when users typed "bitt" into Google's search box, a list of words came up that didn't include "BitTorrent." Now, when "bitt" is typed in, "BitTorrent" pops up right away.

BitTorrent has been working to clean up its public image over the last several months. In June, the company's vice president of marketing Matt Mason announced that while BitTorrent built the open-source, peer-to-peer technology used for content sharing, it does not endorse piracy in any shape or form.

"We don't host infringing content. We don't point to it. It's literally impossible to 'illegally download something on BitTorrent,'" Mason wrote in a blog post. "To pirate stuff, you need more than a protocol. You need search, a pirate content site, and a content manager. We offer none of those things. If you're using BitTorrent for piracy, you're doing it wrong."

BitTorrent isn't the only site to have fallen into Google's bad graces. Sites like RapidShare, uTorrent, and MegaUpload have also been banned from the search engine's auto-complete suggestions. A year ago, Google added several new sites to its blacklist; included in this batch was popular torrent tracker the Pirate Bay.

When contacted by CNET regarding BitTorrent reappearing in auto-complete, a Google spokesperson said, "We frequently make changes and updates to our algorithms. This is not as a result of any change in our policies."

(Via TorrentFreak)

Update, September 25 at 10:10 a.m. PT: Adds comment from Google spokesperson.