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January 28, 2011 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Is Google willing to censor? After a December announcement, Google has quietly begun filtering piracy- and torrent-related terms from its Autocomplete and Instant services. While much of the content is arguably illegal, and results will still appear in Google's traditional search, one of the affected search terms is "ubuntu torrent."
posted by Tubalcain (69 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Weird. I can get "ubuntu torrent" to show up in autocomplete and instant, but that's because I'm hitting google.ca and not google.com?
posted by the dief at 7:44 AM on January 28, 2011


You'd think they could leave law enforcement to the law.

Downloading files via sites like rapidshare, or torrenting files isn't illegal. And hell, even 'piracy' changes from nation to nation.

Google needs to keep their nose out of it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:45 AM on January 28, 2011 [19 favorites]



Weird. I can get "ubuntu torrent" to show up in autocomplete and instant, but that's because I'm hitting google.ca and not google.com?


I can't. Once you type entire word "torrent" it has a list of terms beginning with "ubuntu torrent" but you have to enter the entire world. Not a big deal, but it does reveal why it's silly to ban a technology rather than the product being distributed via it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:48 AM on January 28, 2011


Removing terms from autocomplete and instant is not the same thing as censorship.
posted by rocket88 at 7:48 AM on January 28, 2011 [22 favorites]


Abetting.
posted by cavalier at 7:50 AM on January 28, 2011


Removing terms from autocomplete and instant is not the same thing as censorship.

They're not identical twins. But there's a family resemblance.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:50 AM on January 28, 2011 [14 favorites]


Hard to believe that as recently as six months ago, 100% of legal content was missing from Autocomplete.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:56 AM on January 28, 2011 [32 favorites]


The idea that an impartial Google search is some sort of democratic right seems a little odd. What are you people, communists?
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:56 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Removing terms from autocomplete and instant is not the same thing as censorship.

They're not identical twins. But there's a family resemblance.


I don't even really see a family resemblance. To make a crude analogy, censorship amounts to banning a book from a public library, so that no one can have access to it no matter how hard they try. Removing a term from autocomplete amounts to removing the book from the display shelf of popular books designed to help people avoid combing through the stacks for popular books. Certainly this may be the thin end of the wedge, or the top of a slippery slope into more draconian forms of information management, but its tough to get all up in arms about this alone. Or am I missing something here?
posted by googly at 7:57 AM on January 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Downloading files via sites like rapidshare, or torrenting files isn't illegal. And hell, even 'piracy' changes from nation to nation.

Google needs to keep their nose out of it.


It's not illegal to look up the word "penis" either, but they censor that on autocomplete. This is just a CYA maneuver on the part of Google to avoid looking like they are promoting piracy. Removing sites from the actual search results (which I believe they have done before) is what really has an impact.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:00 AM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]




The idea that an impartial Google search is some sort of democratic right seems a little odd. What are you people, communists?


Well if you're going to have a single party state, you've got to keep a close eye on what they do up there in the corridors of power. ;)
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:00 AM on January 28, 2011


What kind of losers are still using Google to search for torrents anyway? Surely it's been completely pwned by all those torrent-for-pay websites for ages now.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:00 AM on January 28, 2011


Yeah, this is an insane thing to complain about. It's autocomplete. They've always filtered autocomplete. If you type in "fu..." you won't get "fuck" as an autocomplete option. Of course. Because google doesn't want to shove that stuff in people's faces. This doesn't affect actual searches in any way.

The only people complaining are people that feel they've lost market share. And in the case of Ubuntu, I can understand that. But it's nothing like censorship.
posted by koeselitz at 8:00 AM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


The real shock to me here is that people actually use Google Instant.
posted by Zozo at 8:00 AM on January 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Google already chooses not to autocomplete lots of stuff I'm interested in. I'm more upset by the fact that they don't seem to know how to autocomplete "blowj" than "ubuntu torr".
posted by Greg Nog at 8:00 AM on January 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


Abetting? So, doubtless, they entered this same manual block for "how to kidnap a child" right? Or "How to make mustard gas?" Or "how to make an atomic bomb?"

(Admittedly via boingboing)
posted by tyllwin at 8:01 AM on January 28, 2011


This is almost certainly done to avoid charges of contributory infringement. If Google actively suggests search terms like "metallica torrent," then it becomes much harder to claim that Google is not "one who, with knowledge of the infringing activity, induces, causes or materially contributes to the infringing conduct of another." Gershwin Publ'g Corp. v. Columbia Artists Management, Inc., 443 F.2d 1159, 1162 (2d Cir.1971).

Note also that "[c]ourts do not require actual knowledge; rather, a defendant incurs contributory copyright liability if he has reason to know of the third party's direct infringement." Cable/Home Communication Corp. v. Network Productions, 902 F. 2d 829, 846 (11th Cir. 1990).

The copyright laws in this country may be unbalanced or outright harmful, but it's a little absurd to expect Google to engage in some sort of civil disobedience campaign on behalf of copyright infringers.
posted by jedicus at 8:02 AM on January 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


For the record, at 11:00 AM this morning, burnmp3s was thinking about penis, koeselitz was thinking about fucking, and I was thinking about blowjobs. We were all only thinking about these things in order to prove a point about technology.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:03 AM on January 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's like still carrying the book in the library, but taking its card out of the catalog?
Do kids still know what a card catalog is?
Something about that analogy makes this seem silly in a lot of ways.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:04 AM on January 28, 2011


I think it's hilarious/tragic that, whenever I go looking for a new band, the second suggestion is almost always bandname mediafire or bandname rapidshare. It jars against the "fans will want to pay for the music" rhetoric.
posted by adipocere at 8:05 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's like not wanting to give people NSFW content if they don't explicitly ask for it.
posted by jaduncan at 8:06 AM on January 28, 2011


Abetting

Yeah, the regular dictionary is not the best place to go for definitions of legal terms. "In order to aid and abet another to commit a crime it is necessary that a defendant 'in some sort associate himself with the venture, that he participate in it as in something that he wishes to bring about, that he seek by his action to make it succeed.'" Nye & Nissen v. U.S., 336 U.S. 613, 619 (1949) (quoting United States v. Peoni, 100 F. 2d 401, 402 (2d Cir. 1938)).

There's a much stronger intent requirement for aiding and abetting than for contributory infringement, which doesn't even require actual knowledge of the underlying direct infringement.
posted by jedicus at 8:08 AM on January 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Google isn't useful for internet searches anymore. They need to censor their results because spammers have gamed the system to perfection and google searching no longer produces useful results, or even relevant results. The first hit for ""HP Laserjet 2430tn" error 52.00" is naughtydancewear.com/O8bJqIwX/.
posted by fuq at 8:09 AM on January 28, 2011 [7 favorites]




Google isn't useful for internet searches anymore. They need to censor their results because spammers have gamed the system to perfection and google searching no longer produces useful results, or even relevant results. The first hit for ""HP Laserjet 2430tn" error 52.00" is naughtydancewear.com/O8bJqIwX/.


Sure. But there is a subset of users that want transparency in the search criteria, and to be able to manipulate that criteria. Rather than allowing Google to make that decision.

And they do have something of a monopoly going on. Or at least a cartel, if you like Bing.
I've been using duckduckgo but I'm fairly sure it pulls from Google anyway.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:12 AM on January 28, 2011


It's like still carrying the book in the library, but taking its card out of the catalog?
No, it's like keeping the book in the library and the card in the catalog, but declining to put a bright orange post-it note on the card in the question.

Do kids still know what a card catalog is?
They assuredly do not.
posted by wreckingball at 8:14 AM on January 28, 2011


Bad: Google removing otherwise-unobjectionable results that happen to be illegal in a particular country.
Worse: Apologists willing to split any hair to avoid ever calling anything censorship.
posted by DU at 8:15 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm more upset by the fact that they don't seem to know how to autocomplete "blowj" than "ubuntu torr".

Sounds like somebody needs to use the AND operator.
posted by rokusan at 8:15 AM on January 28, 2011


Don't Be Evil
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:17 AM on January 28, 2011




Do kids still know what a card catalog is?
They assuredly do not.


This is a very geographically determined thing. Out here (Vermont) some of the libraries have online catalogs and some have card catalogs and every kid in school has been to a library with a card catalog at some point. You can bet many people out here have no idea that Autocomplete or Instant even exist.

Google's Autocomplete and Instant seem to me to be like display things at bookstores. You think it's helping you find good books to read but it's really just display space bought and paid for by advertisers. Google's already using 1000 little heuristics to determine how their search determines what we see. This is just another one.
posted by jessamyn at 8:19 AM on January 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Isn't more like asking the librarian "Hey do you have HP Lovecraft book At The Mmmm..."
and having the librarian finish your sentence for you with "...ountains of Madness?". Because they actually stopped doing that in libraries AGES ago.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:19 AM on January 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Bad: Google removing otherwise-unobjectionable results that happen to be illegal in a particular country.

More like "Bad: Unbalanced copyright laws make it economically rational for Google to avoid a massive contributory infringement lawsuit by removing certain terms from its autocomplete feature."

It's not so much 'censorship' as "unwillingness to risk a massive lawsuit so that people can more easily engage in something that's illegal in most of the major markets that Google operates in." Those calling 'censorship!' are ascribing malice to something adequately explained by profit motive and the current legal environment.
posted by jedicus at 8:21 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]




Isn't more like asking the librarian "Hey do you have HP Lovecraft book At The Mmmm..."
and having the librarian finish your sentence for you with "...ountains of Madness?". Because they actually stopped doing that in libraries AGES ago.


I would marry that librarian.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:21 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Worse: Apologists willing to split any hair to avoid ever calling anything censorship.

I honestly can't believe anyone could think it is splitting hairs to see a huge, bright line between.

1. Google censoring the results of search terms I have explicitly typed.

2. Google declining to stand at my shoulder and say, "I see you typed the letters 'F' and 'U'. Were you about to say 'FUCK'?"

Those are not remotely, at all the same thing. I would be outraged if Google did #1. I am extremely happy that they do not do #2.
posted by straight at 8:26 AM on January 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Those calling 'censorship!' are ascribing malice to something adequately explained by profit motive and the current legal environment.

How does this correlate with Google's illegal opposition to Chinese Internet censorship? What has happened to the bravery, since?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:32 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]



Those are not remotely, at all the same thing. I would be outraged if Google did #1. I am extremely happy that they do not do #2.


Sure, but the question wasn't "Do I want the hadcore porn pre-loaded for me when I open my browser."

Google removed the word torrent. And torrents are not illegal, and have legitimate uses.

...although I suddenly feel like one of those hippies with a pot leaf on my lapel, extolling the virtues of hemp products.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:33 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


What would Google do if China pulled this crap?
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 8:36 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it's hilarious/tragic that, whenever I go looking for a new band, the second suggestion is almost always bandname mediafire or bandname rapidshare. It jars against the "fans will want to pay for the music" rhetoric.

Not really. It jars against the "fans will want to pay for music they haven't heard yet" rhetoric, which was quite true for a while

Funny thing is searching for "bandname/albumname mediafire" doesn't even work anymore. You have to use "bandname/albumname site:mediafire.com"

More like "Bad: Unbalanced copyright laws make it economically rational for Google to avoid a massive contributory infringement lawsuit by removing certain terms from its autocomplete feature."

I think jedicus has it here. This is a bone to throw to show that "hey, look, we're not encouraging or condoning transfers of unauthorized copyrighted material!" and it's a pretty small bone.

The real shock to me here is that people actually use Google Instant.

It's baked into Chrome beta, I think. But really, complaining about autocomplete and instant results? Hit Enter.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:36 AM on January 28, 2011


Not really. Screenshot.

They've removed the autocomplete for "torr*" yes, and "ubuntu torr*" gets you nothing either, but as soon as you hit that "t" in any sort of torrent related phrase, you get a bunch of related results.

I'm no lawyer, but I'm surprised Google says "Also try" and lists "pirate bay" and "mininova" -- that seems like near encouragement to download unauthorized copyrighted material.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:43 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


oops. responding to "Google removed the word torrent"
posted by mrgrimm at 8:43 AM on January 28, 2011


Sure. But there is a subset of users that want transparency in the search criteria, and to be able to manipulate that criteria.

Yes. They're called spammers.
posted by kafziel at 8:45 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


How does this correlate with Google's illegal opposition to Chinese Internet censorship? What has happened to the bravery, since?

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that if things went sour in China, Google loses its Chinese business, which wouldn't be the end of the world since it had fairly slim market share in China anyway.

Whereas in the worst case here Google could be found liable for an absolutely tremendous amount of copyright infringement, perhaps in some sort of contributory copyright infringement class action. Is it likely that such a case will ever be brought? No. Is it likely that it would succeed? Hard to say, but there are definitely good arguments that Google should not be liable (substantial non-infringing use and all that). But the potential damages are so enormous that a small move like this is worth it, given that many users will never notice, only a small number will really care, and virtually none will do anything significant in response (e.g. switch to Bing).
posted by jedicus at 8:47 AM on January 28, 2011


really just display space bought and paid for by advertisers

I don't think what autocomplete turns up is paid for at all. Leastwise not in anything I ever see in it. For example, I just typed "How to" into Google, and the top three suggestions were:

- how to tie a tie
- how to train your dragon
- how to cook a turkey

I don't think marketers have been paying Google to persuade us to read about doing up ties.

If you start out typing "ip" you get ipad, iphone and ipod suggested. But those are probably by a long way the things beginning with "ip" that anyone wants to know about.

I don't use instant, so can't speak about that.
posted by philipy at 8:47 AM on January 28, 2011


I think that someone who is looking for "ubuntu torrent" already knows how to find it without using google.
posted by Roger Dodger at 8:48 AM on January 28, 2011


While I definitely see this as more of the Animal Farming of Google, and as certainly something To Be Watched, the fact that the page completely blanks out makes me more comfortable. Not comfortable, mind, but more comfortable.

So while it should suggest torrenting in the first place, which is a legal and common activity, at least once you start typing it, it gives a very clear indicator that, yes, I see what you're almost certainly typing, yes we have content on it, but we're going to wait until you finish the word before jumping the gun on offering it to you.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:49 AM on January 28, 2011


"I see you typed the letters 'F' and 'U'. Were you about to say 'FUCK'?"

Best. Clippy. EVAR!
posted by The Bellman at 8:50 AM on January 28, 2011


Worse: Apologists willing to split any hair to avoid ever calling anything censorship.

That isn't happening here.
posted by rocket88 at 8:57 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Were you about to say 'FUCK'?"

If Google were really smart it would know that, for me, the answer to this is always "yes."

Fucking right it is.
posted by Zozo at 9:00 AM on January 28, 2011


If nothing else, I now understand why I spend so much time looking at Web sites about barely legal tennis.
posted by Shepherd at 9:06 AM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I have the option to torrent legal content rather than directly download the entire file, I use the torrent to help encourage the idea that it's the content not the delivery system that's the problem with illegal content.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:13 AM on January 28, 2011



What would Google do if China pulled this crap?

What does that mean in this content? What would Google do if China opened access to the entire internet but didn't hold people's hands in finding what they want?

Fundamentally, autocomplete is just Clippy without the graphics and annoying sayings. I get that people want everything important to them as part of the process, but seriously, I hated Clippy and all autocomplete does is saving you a few key strokes.

It's not censorship, perhaps it's showing preference for X over Y, but goddamn am I ever tired of people ascribing the worst to everything they ever comes down the pike that isn't precisely how they want it.

Here are some terms that are quickly loosing any significant meaning because of overuse or misuse: censorship, slippery slope, evil, crazy, right/left/center,....
posted by edgeways at 9:13 AM on January 28, 2011


we need more alternatives to google and bing.
they're the editors of the internet, hey choose what to publish and what not to publish.

the internet need and open source search engine.
posted by - at 9:28 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bad: Google removing otherwise-unobjectionable results that happen to be illegal in a particular country.
Worse: Apologists willing to split any hair to avoid ever calling anything censorship.
posted by DU at 11:15 AM on January 28 [+] [!]


OK, I'll take the bait.

To start with, google isn't "removing otherwise-unobjectionable results" from anything - they are simply amending the autocomplete feature. The results are still there if you take the extra .5 seconds to finish the word "torrent."

But more to the point: see, the funny thing here is that the people you call "apologists" aren't trying to avoid calling something censorship because we want to protect big bad Google from being called censorious. We're trying to argue that this isn't a case of censorship because we want to reserve the term "censorship" for the most egregious cases of infringement on free speech. Those hairs that you see us splitting are vital to preserving the special force of accusations of "censorship." The more that the term is used to cover cases where someone merely feels aggrieved because some rule or procedure makes their life a bit more complicated (cf: innumerable MeTa deletion complaints), the less force it has.
posted by googly at 9:28 AM on January 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Isn't more like asking the librarian "Hey do you have HP Lovecraft book At The Mmmm..."
and having the librarian finish your sentence for you with "...ountains of Madness?". Because they actually stopped doing that in libraries AGES ago.


This is, in fact, exactly like going up to a librarian and saying "Hey, do you have that book, The Joy of..." and the librarian cheerfully suggesting "Cooking?" and you saying "no, something else".
posted by NMcCoy at 9:29 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


And so it begins...
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 9:32 AM on January 28, 2011


I find autocomplete annoying and have it turned off, and I already know how to find ubuntu torrents. I find myself with a shortage of giveadamn on this one.
posted by Zed at 9:39 AM on January 28, 2011


I steal music all the time and sometimes I would think it was kind of tacky that I'd start typing the name of a band I like only to have my autocomplete results full of 10 different permutations of the band name and torrent or rapidshare or megaupload to pirate their stuff. I kind of appreciate them cleaning up the litter. They should use their Google-fu and make it not screw up things like searches for Linux ISOs.
posted by floam at 9:44 AM on January 28, 2011


Google removed the word torrent. And torrents are not illegal, and have legitimate uses.

Argh. I knew the instant I hit POST that people would completely get sidetracked by the word "fuck." Take Two:

2. Google declining to stand at my shoulder and say, "I see you typed the letters 'T' and 'O'. Were you about to say 'TORRENT'?"

That is not censorship, and it is not hair-splitting to say so.

This is, in fact, exactly like going up to a librarian and saying "Hey, do you have that book, The Joy of..." and the librarian cheerfully suggesting "Cooking?" and you saying "no, something else".


The all-important difference is that, unlike your hypothetical librarian, Google doesn't interrupt my sentence. Autosuggesting "torrid" does not in restrict or interrupt my ability to ask for and receive search results for "torrent" in any way.
posted by straight at 10:02 AM on January 28, 2011


I think some people are focusing on two red herrings:

- that this only affects auto-complete
- the term "censorship"

This is not really about auto-complete - it is about a potentially worrying decision by Google.

Google's decision to take certain terms out of auto-complete is a test (applied to low impact aspect of the search data).

It seems very likely that this came about as a result of pressure from external sources (entertainment industry).

If these tests are successful (i.e. pleasing to those exerting pressure), what is to stop the pressure being further applied. At some point in the future, Google may take the extra step and take these terms out of primary search results.

While this is probably not technically "censorship", it will still have an impact on users and companies associated with products being affected (many of whom run legitimate businesses, regardless of the illegal use of their products).

The question is really: "Is this Google's role to make these types of decision".
posted by greenhornet at 10:10 AM on January 28, 2011


The question is really: "Is this Google's role to make these types of decision".

Of course it is. It is the company that would be held liable for infringement under U.S. copyright laws.

There are bigger issues about Google's search monopoly, but is it Google's role to make decisions about how its product works? Duh.

It seems very likely that this came about as a result of pressure from external sources (entertainment industry).

What are you basing this on? I work pretty closely on these sorts of issues and I would hazard a guess that any pressure here is coming from Google's legal counsel. (I would also hazard a guess that Google's legal counsel has open lines of communication with the MPAA and RIAA.)

At some point in the future, Google may take the extra step and take these terms out of primary search results.

Google already takes lots of shit out of its primary search results ... and doesn't tell anyone about it. How would you even know!

If the pages are out there and Google does not want to index/return them, a competitor will include them and take away a Google user. Again, antitrust issues abound.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:24 AM on January 28, 2011


This is not really about auto-complete - it is about a potentially worrying decision by Google.

Yes, auto-complete per se is not a big deal to my mind.

But it's pretty troubling that Google is heading in this direction. Esp in light of other trends such as moves to erode net neutrality and the growth of Facebook's walled garden.
posted by philipy at 10:34 AM on January 28, 2011


Google's decision to take certain terms out of auto-complete is a test (applied to low impact aspect of the search data).

Cite?

If these tests are successful (i.e. pleasing to those exerting pressure), what is to stop the pressure being further applied. At some point in the future, Google may take the extra step and take these terms out of primary search results.

Conjecture, but even if it's true one could always use another search engine when specifically looking for torrents. Personally, I've never searched for torrents using Google.
posted by rocket88 at 11:40 AM on January 28, 2011


Do kids still know what a card catalog is?
They assuredly do not.


Now that libraries are decamping to private residences without IT budgets, they may very well have to learn.
posted by clarknova at 1:04 PM on January 28, 2011


Ubuntu torrent is in my auto complete but not in Google instant. Which is no big loss for me because 99% of the google queries I do is from the search bar in my browser. Autocomplete is nice and useful. Instant looks cool, but a lot of the search I do using it, it gets grayed out. Maybe I'm just a naughty boy. Maybe I'm not so rushed I can just hit the button to show me the search. I don't know.

(I also like how my friend who has the same name as a b-list porn star has her name "censored" from autocomplete and instant)

The bigger google gets and the more features its adds, the more likely we'll see more of these "controversies" about censorship. "Don't be evil" is about as meaningful as Metafilter's "best of the web" in that they're ideals and not a commandment from a deity.
posted by birdherder at 1:06 PM on January 28, 2011


We're getting worked up about a phrase removed from autocomplete?

This is a total non-issue.
posted by reductiondesign at 1:08 PM on January 28, 2011


I find autocomplete annoying and have it turned off
posted by Zed at 11:39 AM on January 28


I didn't know you could turn it off! I just found it in the settings and now I am PSYCHED. Thanks, Zed.
posted by joannemerriam at 1:27 PM on January 28, 2011


the internet need and open source search engine.

well, there's the Nutch project, which was started as an open source search engine. I don't believe that they've actually got a web search engine based on it though.

There's also Blekko (link goes to 'seo' infomation about metafilter.com), which is a lot more open about their input and ranking methods than Google and Bing, though not (AFAIK) open source.

There are two main problems with the idea of an open source search engine. Firstly, it takes an enormous amount of full-time effort by skilled people to run a search engine. This, plus the hardware/network requirements mean that it costs a lot to run a search engine, even a small one, and no-one seems to want to do this and open-source the results.

The second problem associated with open-source search engines are that spammers and competitors could read their code and either reimplement their ranking algorithm or learn how to effectively spam their engine. Neither of those things are attractive to people who run search engines.

I'm a big fan of open source, but open source web search engines don't seem practical, or even necessarily desirable (for the second reason above: we all like spam-free results).
posted by nml at 3:32 PM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't more like asking the librarian "Hey do you have HP Lovecraft book At The Mmmm..."
and having the librarian finish your sentence for you with "...ountains of Madness?". Because they actually stopped doing that in libraries AGES ago.


They stopped doing that? Damn, I wish somebody had told me.

Worst-case scenario, it takes a second to do an author search for 'lovec,' then click a couple times to get the title (though that's one I'd know off the top of my head). And I admit--if you just stand there saying 'Mmmm...' while I'm finding your book, sooner or later it's going to start to weird me out.
posted by box at 9:50 PM on January 28, 2011


This is not really about auto-complete - it is about a potentially worrying decision by Google.

No, it really is about auto-complete.

Because the question "What words should we put in our users mouths for them?" is a very, very, very different question from "What search results should we refuse to give users entirely?"
posted by straight at 10:17 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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