Google is constantly working towards improving the way Search serves its expansive userbase. In an official blog post, Google's SVP – Engineering, Amit Singhal has mentioned that Google has developed over 200 signals to ensure that its search algorithms offer the best results, and from next week Google will consider a new signal for determining the search rankings. Google will now take into account the number of valid copyright removal notices that it receives for any website, while determining search rankings. He goes on to specify that the websites with a high number of removal notices may feature lower in Google Search results. This way, he believes, users will be able to get to legitimate and quality sources of content with much ease.
Pirated sites to have lower rankings now
The post goes on to reveal that currently, Google is receiving and processing more copyright removal notices than it did in all of 2009 – over a staggering 4.3 million URLs in the past 30 days alone. This data will be used a signal to determine the search rankings. He adds, “Only copyright holders know if something is authorized, and only courts can decide if a copyright has been infringed”. He affirms that Google cannot determine whether a certain webpage infringes a copyright law. Owing to this, although the rankings of some pages would be affected, Google would not be removing any pages from the results altogether, unless it receives a valid copyright removal notice from the rights owners themselves. Google will also offer 'counter-notice' tools, for those who feel that their content has been wrongly removed.
Recently, Tech2 reported that Google, by way of its Transparency Report, will make public, information on the number of requests it receives on a regular basis from copyright owners and the organizations that represent them, asking the search giant to remove web pages that infringe their copyrights. In an official post, Fred von Lohmann, Senior Copyright Counsel at Google added that the requests that Google receives state that the web pages that appear on their search feed link to content that infringes the senders' copyright, and that Google has started with the ‘search’ side of things to convey, if at all, any search has been omitted from the feed, it is because of this rather than anything else.
The post further reveals that Google’s Transparency Report on copyright will contain details such as the name of the sender of the copyright removal notices, the frequency of receiving the notices, and the copyright owners and websites on behalf of whom such notices have been sent. By doing so, Google is hoping that the data will aid in discussions pertaining to the pros and cons of different proposals to tackle the issue of online copyright infringement. For this particular release, Google will disclose data starting from July 2011, and continue to update the numbers each day. In its detailed graphical report, Google highlighted that last month alone, it received as many as 1.2 million requests made on behalf of more than 1,000 copyright owners to remove certain websites or webpages from search results.