How trustworthy is a search engine that filters results?

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 18, 2015
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Google

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, 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?

How trustworthy is a search engine that filters results?
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How trustworthy is a search engine that filters results?
Google began to penalize the popular torrent indexing site Kickass Torrents in its results recently.

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  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong..

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: []. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, has changed in quality.
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin:,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

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