Reports started to come in today that Google has penalized one of the world’s most popular torrent indexing websites Kickass Torrents.
Penalized in this case means that the site is nowhere to be found if you search for its name or derivations thereof when you use Google or a search engine that uses Google as its source.
The official domain of the service, kat.cr is not listed on the first five pages on Google if you search for the name of the site.
Even worse is the fact that Google’s action pushed a malicious impostor site to the top that is serving malware to visitors.
Other search engines, Bing and DuckDuckGo for instance, list the official site at the top. It is unclear why the site is blocked from appearing in Google’s search results but there are a number of possible explanations such as “serving of malware from the domain”, a DMCA takedown notice or a manual penalty.
It is clear however that Google is doing a disservice to its customers. Not only is the company not serving the correct and expected result at the top, it replaced it with a site that is serving malware to users who used Google to find the site.
There is an underlying issue that is even more problematic than the banning of a site in the company’s search results, and that is one of transparency.
Can you be sure that Google is not filtering out results when you use the search engine? You may notice it at times, for instance when you search for a site directly and it does not come up, but what about searches that have no clear result at the top?
How can you be sure that the company is not filtering out sites that it does not want you to see for whatever reason? How can you be sure that you are getting the best results and not a biased list based on manual interventions and tweaks?
It seems that you cannot be sure, as there is no way of telling whether a result is genuine or tampered with.
Other search engines are not necessarily better when it comes to the filtering of results but at least when it comes to Kickass Torrents, it is Bing and DuckDuckGo that show the right result at the top.
Now You: What’s your take on this? Is there a search engine that does not filter results?