Google To Modify Search Results To Fight Music Piracy And Support Legitimate Download Sites

The search game is changing as Google makes a concerted effort to cut down on music piracy while simultaneously helping to promote legitimate download sites like Netflix and Google Play. In keeping with its transparent theme, Google spelled out some specific changes it's making (as well as already made) to search in an updated How Google Fights Piracy report. So, what can you expect?

One of the things Google has been doing is experimenting with its ad formats. The sultan of search wants to make it easier for people to find legitimate sources of media. And for the "relatively small number" of search queries for movies that use terms like "download," "free," or "watch," Google's ads will point users to free trials of paid services, like Amazon's Prime membership.

Image Source: Flickr (Pascal)

This is just one example -- Google says it's testing other ways as well, including the use of the right-hand panel. For example, if you're looking up a song, Google might display results where you can listen to a tune for free without breaking the law, such as heading over to Google Play or Spotify for a free trial.

In addition to pointing users in the right direction, Google actively "downranks" sites that receive a large number of valid DMCA notices. This is something that Google's been doing since August 2012, though going forward, Google will begin using a refined signal to visibly affect the rankings of some of the more popular sites.

Short and to the point, it might soon be easier for pirates to go legit than it will be to continue looking up illegally distributed content.