Google has expanded its anti-piracy efforts to remove autocomplete for search terms related to the media playback software Kodi.
Now, users who search "Kod" will no longer have it autocomplete to Kodi, but will instead see a variety of terms like "Kodak" and other legal, less contentious things.
Kodi is not a piracy app per se, but its use, much like BitTorrent, is one which is used for piracy overwhelmingly. The app has already faced censure in many European counties, with the UK setting out guidelines for what it considers illegal use of the Kodi set-top box software itself. Google is serious about taking down products which encourage, or appear to encourage piracy, and Kodi appears to be a victim of its own success.
A Google spokesperson told TorrentFreak that:"Since 2011, we have been filtering certain terms closely associated with copyright infringement from Google Autocomplete. This action is consistent with that long-standing strategy." Google's autocomplete policy has indeed been long standing, and the firm has discussed it publicly many times, even banning Bittorrent at one time.
"Autocomplete is a convenience feature in Google Search that attempts to "complete" a query as it's typed based on similar queries that other users have typed." Google said in a 2014 whitepaper summarising its piracy efforts, "Related Search shows queries that other users have typed that may be similar to yours. Google has taken steps to prevent terms closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete and Related Search."
While Kodi protests that it is a legitimate service, it remains to be seen whether Google will see it that way and lift its ban eventually.
"We are surprised and disappointed to discover Kodi has been removed from autocomplete, as Kodi is perfectly legal open source software," XBMC Foundation President Nathan Betzen told TorrentFreak this week. "We have a professional relationship with the MPAA, who have specifically made clear in the past their own position that Kodi is legal software. We hope Google will reconsider this decision in the future, or at a minimum limit their removal to search terms where the legality is actually in dispute."
via Torrent Freak