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posted by Cactus on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:30PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't dept.

Fluffeh writes:

According to TorrentFreak, Google is downranking The Pirate Bay's website in its search results for a wide variety of queries, some of which are not linked to copyright-infringing content. Interestingly, the change mostly seems to affect TPB results via the Google.com domain, not other variants such as Google.ca and Google.co.uk.

It also seems that Google may only be downranking searches that are explicitly looking for copyright-infringing content, not searches that are simply looking for The Pirate Bay itself. It will be interesting to see whether this is a backhanded effort to appease the media companies, or a taste of things to come to all the Google domains.

Related Stories

Less than Half of Google Searches Now Result in a Click 39 comments

A few months ago, back in August, the Web passed a milestone in that less than half of Google searches result in even a single click onwards. In other words, the majority of searchers never left Google after seeing the results. That could be a warning that Google is transitioning from a search engine to more of a walled-garden. Or it could mean that the results aren't good any more and people move on to other engines after only a quick glance. If the former, where searches are no longer resulting in click through, then what should be the proper response from the Web at large?

From: Less than Half of Google Searches Now Result in a Click:

On desktop, things haven’t changed all that much in the last three years. Organic is down a few percent, paid and zero-click are up a bit, but June of 2019 isn’t far off January of 2016.

On mobile, where more than half of all searches take place, it’s a different story. Organic has fallen by almost 20%, while paid has nearly tripled and zero-click searches are up significantly. Even way back in January 2016, more than half of mobile searches ended without a click. Today’s, it’s almost 2/3rds.

Three trends are made clear by these numbers:

  1. The percent of searches available as organic traffic from Google is steadily declining, especially on mobile.
  2. Paid clicks tend to increase whenever Google makes changes to how those results are displayed, then slowly decline as searchers get more familiar with spotting and avoiding them.
  3. Google’s ongoing attempts to answer more searches without a click to any results OR a click to Google’s own properties are both proving successful. As a result, zero-click searches, and clicks that bring searchers to a Google-owned site keep rising.
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by NecroDM on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:38PM

    by NecroDM (376) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:38PM (#7416)

    Sounds like they're caving in to the pressure from the media companies, since they're technologically dumb so to speak they probably think that this will actually affect "piracy". I say with quotation marks as it's actually copyright infringement, piracy is stealing shit in the high seas.

    People who want to download stuff for free will still be able to do so without any inconveniences, so it looks like another futile control attempt by a dying industry.

    • (Score: 1) by ikanreed on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:28PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:28PM (#7452) Journal

      Simple contradiction in your post: if the industry is dying, then it will die and have no content to pirate, making pirate sites disappear.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by NecroDM on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:45PM

        by NecroDM (376) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:45PM (#7464)

        Good point, but it's not the whole industry that's dying but rather the middlemen such as RIAA/MPAA that want to eliminate the threats to their distribution model, ever since it was possible to copy a VHS they've been hell bent on trying to stop people from sharing content. Fortunately others like Netflix understand that people will copy and share either way so why not make it simple to watch a movie and make some money too?

        The problem with MPAA/RIAA is the clinging to a model that no longer makes sense, not since you have broadband internet access, it's human nature to share culture and instead of taking an advantage of that and make it simple to watch a movie online "pirate" sites do this for free and they miss out due to their greed.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Fluffeh on Wednesday February 26 2014, @09:40PM

          by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 26 2014, @09:40PM (#7576) Journal

          middlemen such as RIAA/MPAA that want to eliminate the threats to their distribution model

          That's not entirely true either though. They simply want to have their cake and eat it. They don't have a problem with other people using their content if they pay for it - such as netflix who is now worth over $25 billion! [google.com] but they try to hammer in that each download is a sale lost.

          I agree that they are doing a lot to protect their masters poor business model - but in this case, I would actually blame the actual distributers much more than their guard dogs here. The problem is a business that is simply poorly managed. If the studios want me to buy their stuff, make it fricken available to buy. I have been trying for about four years now to buy a legit copy of Dollhouse [imdb.com] in Australia. It has so far always been "around a year away from release" or so they keep telling my at JBHifi.

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:53PM

          by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:53PM (#7607) Journal

          If the (RI|MP)AA don't understand the obsolescence of their business model by now, it is because they refuse to learn. Good lord, it's been what, 15 years since Napster? They still don't understand that the good ship lollipop has sailed? Netflix and iTunes have even gone out of their way to show them a path to continued relevance, much like you would show your developmentally disabled cousin how to tie his shoes for the eightieth time, and they still insist on this nonsense? Would someone, Google, Apple, anyone just buy the entire content industry with the spare change they have rattling around in their pockets and put them out of their misery already? Buy the whole kit and kaboodle and finally bring the film/TV/music production activity current with technology and the ways the kids are consuming it nowadays.

          --
          Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by mcgrew on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:36PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:36PM (#7459) Homepage Journal

      I say with quotation marks as it's actually copyright infringement, piracy is stealing shit in the high seas.

      Originally, yes. Then came the 1950s and their unlicensed radio stations, which were mostly transmitting from boats in international coastal waters. That fact caused the term "pirate radio" since, like real pirates, they were on the high seas.

      Then Napster came along... and "pirate" went from "unlicensed radio" to "file sharing". Note that the pirate radio stations weren't stealing anything, either, they were simply transmitting without a license.

      And many (most?) file sharers have embraced the term "pirate". You ho ho!

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by dime on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:28PM

        by dime (1163) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:28PM (#7487)

        You're missing a step there. In between pirate radio of the 50's and before the internet existed, both warez groups on bbses and the BSA called it piracy. And more from the latter. Informational packets from the BSA in the 80's/90's used the term piracy when talking about warez.

        Before... 95 when mp3's came out, there was almost no music in the scene except for the best kind, the midi files embedded inside the bbs ads. So it wasn't music sharing from Napster that linked them to pirate radio, if that's what you were implying.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:38PM

        by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:38PM (#7551)

        And many (most?) file sharers have embraced the term "pirate". Yo ho ho!

        Just my opinion, but I think it's a mistake to embrace the language of the oppressor. That legitimizes his rhetoric, which equates copyright infringement with armed robbery. In terms of moral outrage, a better analogy would be trespassing, or maybe driving with an expired registration.

        --
        [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by edIII on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:17PM

          by edIII (791) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:17PM (#7589)

          Damn good points.

          I've never for one second equated theft with copyright infringement. It doesn't matter what people say, it's logically and linguistically precluded from being theft. It's like trying to argue that the sky is purple and the tooth fairy exists.

          At this point though, I do equate piracy with copyright infringement. The old style piracy on the high seas is mostly relegated now to very poor and unsophisticated people that have turned it into an economy, because their country is so screwed up, it can't run a normal economy.

          The rhetoric of the oppressor extends far beyond calling unpopular or unwanted (to the old guard anyways) activity acts of crime in such a willfully ignorant and manipulative fashion, but also includes whole hosts of logical fallacies, doctored reports and statistics, hand waving regarding their own much larger and actual crimes against the 'victims', and entirely new and fabricated ontological interpretations that ownership of imaginary property needs to be made real.

          That's their biggest and most dangerous lie: Intellectual property is real, it should be owned forever like an asset, and laws and resources need to be created to enforce it, regardless of the serious and quite obvious detriments to privacy, anonymity, innovation, intellectual freedom, and a free society in general.

          Calling them the oppressor is like calling Darth Vader a puppy.

          They're terrorists, but unlike terrorists, continue to win. Not in little victories against a nameless swarm attacking them, but by laying siege and utterly destroying any environment that supports the nameless swarm. To do that, they will destroy everything. In the name of control and money.

          This is why the average person will wake up one day and find that their level of freedom in the real world is non-existent. Their freedoms in cyber-space are non-existent and the interconnection between the real world and cyber-space will be so complete, that being controlled in cyber-space is to be controlled in the real world.

          It makes me sad. The Internet made cyber-space such a place full of wonder, equality, innovation, and potential. An unprecedented exchange of ideas and art.

          No wonder it had to die.

          --
          Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by metamonkey on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:08PM

      by metamonkey (3174) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:08PM (#7521)

      I say with quotation marks as it's actually copyright infringement, piracy is stealing shit in the high seas.

      I torrent copyrighted works from my schooner you insensitive clod!

      --
      Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:45PM (#7553)

      "piracy is stealing shit in the high seas"

      There are times when I consider forming a record label just so I can issue Liner Notes of Marque and Reprisal.

      Music privateering is where it's at.

    • (Score: 1) by iNaya on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:41PM

      by iNaya (176) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:41PM (#7640)

      Article 12 of the 1886 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works uses the term "piracy" in relation to copyright infringement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringemen t#.22Piracy.22 [wikipedia.org]

      But I agree with you nonetheless.

    • (Score: 1) by tangomargarine on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:43PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:43PM (#8010)

      Unless they also violate their "site:thepiratebay.se " convention (I know, I shouldn't give them ideas...), I would flip them the bird and continue to use it...if I did already. I don't really have the need to do much torrenting, but it's still the principle of the thing.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 1) by tangomargarine on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:47PM

        by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:47PM (#8013)

        Crap; my <query> got stripped out of that string.

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by duvel on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:42PM

    by duvel (1496) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:42PM (#7419)
    The signs have been obvious for a while now, and the evolution is clear too: Google is becoming too big. With that size comes the arrogance of thinking they can do anything they want. This includes re-ordering search results as they see fit, or setting up vast databases of your browsing (and e-mail) habbits to increase their advertising revenue from you. Until the global populace starts understanding this, and adapting their behaviour accordingly, this trend will probably continue.

    In the mean while there's an easy fix, as far as the incorrect search results go that are being discussed in the article. Just start using Duckduckgo [duckduckgo.com] and the issue is circumvented. Using Duckduckgo immediately also solves the privacy issues: they don't log anything about you.
    --
    This Sig is under surveilance by the NSA
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tlezer on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:49PM

      by tlezer (708) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:49PM (#7425)

      Are you guys getting paid? Seems like every other thread has an advertisement for duckduckgo

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Jerry Smith on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:57PM

        by Jerry Smith (379) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:57PM (#7428) Journal

        Are you guys getting paid? Seems like every other thread has an advertisement for duckduckgo

        No, it's just that duckduckgo is getting a pretty big audience in Europe. So you just might have stumbled into some europeans :)

        --
        All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
        • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:27PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:27PM (#7486)

          "So you just might have stumbled into some europeans :)"

          Uh oh, ok be calm. When facing a German in the wild it is important to make yourself appear as large as possible, but don't make any loud noises as that could be mistranslated as an insult to their mothers.

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:45PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:45PM (#7500)

            My hovercraft is full of eels.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Foobar Bazbot on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:12PM

          by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:12PM (#7585) Journal

          I wonder if part of the appeal of ddg to Europeans is about it being based overseas from them; I know that's part* of why I, an American, choose ixquick/startpage over ddg... If I'm going to be snooped on, I'd rather it's by a government that can't directly affect me, and might not share everything with the government(s) that can.

          *To be specific, that was the initial part; I've developed a much stronger dislike of ddg, since I discovered that (1) they recommend you install their Firefox extension, instead of just adding a url to your search list and setting it as default, and (2) that that extension by default injects ddg content into google search results. Yes, you can turn off the content tampering, but IMO it's evil to engage in that behavior as a default, absent some clear sign from the user that they want non-ddg pages tampered with. (For example, hey could have made installing the extension a clear sign, by promoting the extension as a content-injecting option, instead of as a way to get ddg in the search box.

          • (Score: 1) by rts008 on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:04AM

            by rts008 (3001) on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:04AM (#7813)

            In regards to: "*To be specific..."
            Thanks, was not aware of that behavior from DDG, but was thinking about using them. I will remember about the extension if I decide to use them.

            BTW, thanks for the Greasemonkey script you linked to. I have been trying to find something in the 'pref.'s' to turned that nested crap off.(unsuccessful so far...)
            This will help a lot!

          • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Thursday February 27 2014, @05:56PM

            by GeminiDomino (661) on Thursday February 27 2014, @05:56PM (#8069)

            Has ixquick sorted out their performance issues yet? I started using it after scroogle was killed off, but it was just horribly slow (I'm 30-45 second page loads) when it didn't timeout outright. Now I bounce between DDG and qrobe.it, but I'm still more than willing to give ixquick a spot in the rotation.

            --
            "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
            • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Friday February 28 2014, @06:27AM

              by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Friday February 28 2014, @06:27AM (#8320) Journal

              Dunno, I don't recall ever seeing that sort of load times when my own connection wasn't flaky. (Then again, my connection was frequently flaky around that time period...)

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:59PM

        by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:59PM (#7430)

        Nope, not paid. Just trying to spread the word because I figure other Soylentils care about privacy and about unedited search results. If you like being tracked and having your search results "tailored" to you, by all means stay with Google.

        --
        [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by everdred on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:47PM

        by everdred (110) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:47PM (#7554) Homepage Journal

        Think for a second about where you are, and who might make up the early-adopting audience for such a place.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JimmyCrackCorn on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:33PM

      by JimmyCrackCorn (1495) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:33PM (#7457)

      And not using Google search is a form of economic boycott.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by X1 on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:17PM

      by X1 (1221) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:17PM (#7531)

      The signs have been obvious for a while now, and the evolution is clear too: Google is becoming too big. With that size comes the arrogance of thinking they can do anything they want. This includes re-ordering search results as they see fit,

      You had me, but then you lost me. Sorry, much as I've got plenty o hate for the Goog, "re-ordering search results as they see fit" happens to be their first and original J-O-B. If they weren't doing that from the start, they wouldn't exist.

      I'm not saying you are an idiot, or that your general sentiments are completely off, but that one gave me a laugh.

      In the mean while there's an easy fix, as far as the incorrect search results go that are being discussed in the article. Just start using Duckduckgo and the issue is circumvented. Using Duckduckgo immediately also solves the privacy issues: they don't log anything about you.

      As others oft remind people, DDG gets many of its search results from Bing and other providers. So they are hardly invulnerably independent of similar influence. One would hope that as DDG gets more hits and funding that they will outgrow their dependence on external search engines for their results, and hold true to their stated ideals. I unfortunately remember how many of Google's initial ideals they ultimately compromised on, so my hopes for DDG are somewhat tempered. Also, just because DDG doesn't log anything about you doesn't mean that the NSA isn't. But yes, it is still a big improvement over Google's business model around monetizing those logs.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by monster on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:22AM

        by monster (1260) on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:22AM (#7859) Journal

        The real issue is not that they reorder results (as you say it's their job and the reason of their success), it's that they reorder them not to better serve the user who is searching but because of some spurious interests, be them their corporate agenda or someone else's.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by tlezer on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:46PM

    by tlezer (708) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:46PM (#7421)

    Why can't the tool(google) just search, and not apply a bunch of rules made up by marketing/politicians/etc? Google was great early on because it performed searches quickly and well, providing meaningful results to make order out of the web chaos. Back to basics please

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by scruffybeard on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:03PM

      by scruffybeard (533) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:03PM (#7433)

      The marketing pays for the stuff that supports the search capability.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by tlezer on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:29PM

        by tlezer (708) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:29PM (#7453)

        Yep, I get that, and I can accept seeing advertisements, just don't compromise the utility of the tool or you will soon find no one left to see your advertising.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by dilbert on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:07PM

      by dilbert (444) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:07PM (#7436)
      I'm curious how often google manipulates the search results that the public isn't aware of. I suspect it's more than we might think, and I'm not just talking about the filter bubble [dontbubble.us].

      I try to use competing search engines and avoid google as much as possible. Startpage/ixquick/duckduckgo all see queries from me.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:10PM

        by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:10PM (#7439)

        Given that your search engine decides what you see and don't see, you're wise for using more than one.

        --
        [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by darnkitten on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:38PM

        by darnkitten (1912) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:38PM (#7460)

        I try to use competing search engines and avoid google as much as possible. Startpage/ixquick/duckduckgo all see queries from me.

        Agreed.

        Opening a private tab [mozilla.org] before you start the search is also a good idea, if your browser supports it.

        • (Score: 1) by bucc5062 on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:56PM

          by bucc5062 (699) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:56PM (#7471)
          While I did add it to my FF browser, I do not see how this stops Google from tracking/recording your searches. PRivate Tab states in part "While this computer won't have a record of your browsing history, your internet service provider or employer can still track the pages you visit.". I kills your path, but not what you provide so google still gets your data. What did I miss?
          --
          The more things change, the more they look the same
        • (Score: 5, Informative) by dilbert on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:32PM

          by dilbert (444) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:32PM (#7489)

          I use TOR for about 90% of my web browsing, and rotate search engines (avoiding google except when I can't find what I need elsewhere). When I use a regular browser (not TOR), I use noscript, betterprivacy, ghostery, https everywhere, and adblock edge. EFF's Panopticlick shows my browser fingerprint as fairly common.

          I'm extreme so I take it one step further: I do all of the above inside a VirtualBox VM which I refresh back to a pristine state (via snapshot) every so often which prevents any unknown (to me) tracking methods to work across browsing sessions.

          • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:45PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:45PM (#7501)
            Where's the +1 Paranoid option?!
          • (Score: 1) by metamonkey on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:13PM

            by metamonkey (3174) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:13PM (#7527)

            Holy shit man. Are you like an IRL ninja or secret agent or something?

            --
            Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
          • (Score: 5, Informative) by SMI on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:37PM

            by SMI (333) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:37PM (#7549)

            I see your NoScript, BetterPrivacy, httpsEverywhere, and AdBlock, and raise you RequestPolicy, ModifyHeaders, Disconnect.me, and SecretAgent.

            Not as much of a fan as Ghostery, though. Also, wise move with the VM.

            • (Score: 2, Interesting) by darnkitten on Wednesday February 26 2014, @09:11PM

              by darnkitten (1912) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @09:11PM (#7565)

              Hey...slightly offtopic, but--I used to use HttpsEverywhere on shared computers (I run a small library), but had to disable, as I was getting certificate error messages from popular email and social networking sites (ie., Google and facebook). These would require me to reset the cert8 file to resolve. Do you know if that is still happening?

              HttpsEverywhere seems such an obvious fit for public computers, but having to fix them 2-3 times a week got real old real fast.

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by SMI on Wednesday February 26 2014, @09:34PM

                by SMI (333) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @09:34PM (#7574)

                I can't speak re: popular email and social networking sites (ie., Google and Facepalm), as I avoid them like the plague, but I can tell you that I've never had any problems with HttpsEverywhere. If your issues were more than a few months ago, maybe try again? I doubt that such an issue would be allowed to simmer very long...

                Furthermore, you might look into changing rulesets [eff.org].

                • (Score: 1) by darnkitten on Friday February 28 2014, @03:06AM

                  by darnkitten (1912) on Friday February 28 2014, @03:06AM (#8232)

                  Thanks. It has been a while. I'll have to test it on one or two of the machines and see what happens.

                  I can't speak re: popular email and social networking sites (ie., Google and Facepalm), as I avoid them like the plague...

                  Me too, but most of the patrons who come in to use the public computers are just there to use FB or other social sites. I never see the problems until the patrons trigger them.

                  • (Score: 2) by SMI on Friday February 28 2014, @03:13AM

                    by SMI (333) on Friday February 28 2014, @03:13AM (#8237)

                    "I never see the problems until the patrons trigger them."

                    I understand completely.

          • (Score: 2, Informative) by spxero on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:16PM

            by spxero (3061) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:16PM (#7587)

            Don't forget to add Self-Distructing Cookies to your addon list!

          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by philovivero on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:44AM

            by philovivero (3410) on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:44AM (#7826)

            This is not particularly useful.

            What we need is for someone to generate such a VM image and distribute it so that all that crazy stuff you mentioned (about 1/3 of which I haven't even heard of) is already set up and functional.

            The 2/3 of that I've heard of I think it would take me weeks to be 100% sure I've set them up properly and test them to be sure there isn't some trivial mistake I made that makes me uniquely identifiable.

            • (Score: 2) by SMI on Thursday February 27 2014, @05:29PM

              by SMI (333) on Thursday February 27 2014, @05:29PM (#8060)

              Useful is subjective.

              If you're looking for an image to get started with, I would recommend either Tails [boum.org] or Liberte Linux [dee.su]. First thing to be aware of is that putting either one on optical media is the safest method.

              Additionally, it's important to note that these, like the FF add-ons previously referred to, are just tools. A hammer is useless to someone who doesn't know what it is or what it can do. What we all really need is comprehension of how the modern internet is designed, so that we can all individually make informed choices regarding what information we want to expose, as well as which sites and services we want our computers to interact with. The first thing to understand about security in any context is that it is an on-going process, not an end in itself.

              Lastly, don't fault yourself or get discouraged because of the learning curve. We all have to start somewhere.

          • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:05PM

            by GeminiDomino (661) on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:05PM (#8070)

            I've got pretty much the same set of extensions, except that I use RequestPolicy along with NS and ABE, and I don't use Ghostery (it murders performance is one reason, this [businesswire.com] is another). I switched to Disconnect after that.

            Let me ask you: what do you run in that VM? I've thought for awhile it might be useful to have a small, lightweight OS just for tasks like full-featured browsing, rather than running a full Xubuntu install just to surf the web without too much hassle.

            --
            "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
            • (Score: 1) by dilbert on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:36PM

              by dilbert (444) on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:36PM (#8110)

              FYI, Ghostery does let you opt out of the data collection but I'm always looking for more effective/freedom respecting tools. Thanks for the recommendation, I'll have to check out Disconnect (+1 over Ghostery for being open source).

              The VM is running Mint 16 'Petra'. Once everything is properly configured, the snapshot can be in a powered off/on state depending on preference. A snapshot in an 'on' state will result in a larger snapshot size as it includes the contents of the VM's RAM while a snapshot in an 'off' state will be smaller but require the VM to boot each use.

              The entire process takes only a few seconds per browsing session, which is a small inconvenience for a significant increase in privacy.

      • (Score: 1) by tangomargarine on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:54PM

        by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:54PM (#8019)

        Oh hey, it looks like Google finally fixed their weird behavior where when I searched on "QC", the first result was Questionable Content but I'm Feeling Lucky-ing it took me to some marketing page instead. Nice.

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by AgTiger on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:10PM

    by AgTiger (1060) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:10PM (#7438)
    Include this at the beginning of the search terms: site:thepiratebay.se

    That appears to work nicely.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:14PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:14PM (#7440)

      If you know the domain you're looking for, why on earth would you need to search for it?

      The problem with a search engine downranking the results is that people who are searching for a specific piece of content, say Game of Thrones or whatever, won't find out that the Pirate Bay is a place to get it.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by dilbert on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:18PM

        by dilbert (444) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:18PM (#7442)
        Exactly. Using the 'site:' option is great for looking for content on sites that don't have adequate search themselves, but the piratebay's search function is very adequate. No point in using a third party to search.
        • (Score: 2) by umafuckitt on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:53PM

          by umafuckitt (20) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:53PM (#7506)

          Adequate? Try searching for a C++ book on TPB.

      • (Score: 1) by AgTiger on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:21PM

        by AgTiger (1060) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:21PM (#7446)

        True. Apologies, I haven't had enough coffee yet today, apparently.

        The site: tag could come in handy in a situation where the site's own search engine isn't performing as desired, and you want to take another crack at it using Google.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by umafuckitt on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:35PM

        by umafuckitt (20) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:35PM (#7458)

        Why? Because some sites are large and/or have bad built-in search engines. I've often used "site:" to help me find stuff on larger sites, including on TPB (whose search is crappy).

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by darnkitten on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:30PM

    by darnkitten (1912) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:30PM (#7454)

    People still use Google with all of its tracking-for-life to find torrents instead of using a private [ixquick.com] search [duckduckgo.com] engine [startpage.com] or using one of the torrent [torrentproject.com] metasearch [torrentz.eu] engines?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by e on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:45PM

      by e (2923) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:45PM (#7465)

      Note that torrentz.eu also respects DMCA requests.

      • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by darnkitten on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:11PM

        by darnkitten (1912) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:11PM (#7525)

        Thanks--that's good to know. Which torrent metasearch engines do you use or recommend?

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by ShipIt on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:15PM

    by ShipIt (1892) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:15PM (#7479)

    Google of all companies should remember the lesson of Yahoo! since they are the ones who supplanted them. Give users what they want, or they drop you for something better. See also: slashdot. The barrier to entry is absurdly low for the web compared to other industries.

    • (Score: 1) by ementaler on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:56PM

      by ementaler (1796) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:56PM (#7646)

      "Google of all companies should remember the lesson of Yahoo! since they are the ones who supplanted them. Give users what they want, or they drop you for something better. See also: slashdot. The barrier to entry is absurdly low for the web compared to other industries."

      True, altough I wouldn't compare it with Slashdot - an average user simply doesn't care that much, plus Google has become a social fact (Durkheim).

  • (Score: 0, Redundant) by resignator on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:27PM

    by resignator (3126) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:27PM (#7593)

    Just another reason, if you havent made the switch already, to use duckduckgo.