The immensely popular BitTorrent client uTorrent recently added a Google powered torrent search engine to its website. This added search capability used Google’s custom search program and allowed visitors to search for .torrent files on Google. For reasons unknown, Google appears to be blocking the use of its search technology on the site.
With over 28 million active users a month, uTorrent has established itself as the client of choice for most BitTorrent users. In an attempt to bring in some much needed revenue, BitTorrent Inc. decided to add a search engine to its website using Google’s custom search program.
On the one hand this offers newcomers to BitTorrent a familiar interface to find all sorts of torrent files directly from the uTorrent homepage. The search engine uses Google’s search algorithms to find .torrent files on sites such as The Pirate Bay and isoHunt. BitTorrent Inc. profits from this through search based ads that Google adds to the search results.
This seems to be a win-win situation for everyone but for reasons unknown, Google no longer allows uTorrent to use the custom search program. When entering a keyword into the search box on the website the following error is returned (see picture). BitTorrent Inc. has now removed the search box but they have no clue why they have this problem with Google.
No Google search for uTorrent
Simon Morris, BitTorrent’s VP of Product Management told TorrentFreak that there is indeed a problem but that they yet have to find out the details. At this stage we can only guess at the reasoning behind the lack of functionality. Most BitTorrent sites are not allowed to serve Google ads because they link to copyrighted content, but since uTorrent was only linking to these sites indirectly through Google’s own search engine, this seems less likely.
Yet there are more BitTorrent oriented sites that have faced similar problems. The Pirate Google, another website that uses Google’s custom search had similar problems recently.
uTorrent’s search has been down for around 5 days now, so one could expect a technical issue to be resolved by now, but until we hear back from Google the actual cause is open to speculation. The net effect is the same though – uTorrent’s revenue from this source isn’t rising as planned.
Update: We heard from “The Pirate Google” admin that Google did indeed block inbound queries from his site. He found a temporary workaround but this proves that Google is actively blocking (these) torrent related sites. Don’t be evil?