Google Currently Offering Free Web App to Access BitTorrent Trackers

There have been many who compare Google to ThePirateBay. The technical front may be more of a grey area that can be debated back and forth, but the line that defines the differences between Google and ThePirateBay may be a little more blurry on that technical side after one observant user spotted Google’s hosted web app that allows users to access BitTorrent trackers.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

People who are frustrated at the guilty verdict handed down to ThePiratebay, to which the admins have currently vowed to appeal, have been quick to draw comparisons between ThePirateBay and Google. One user went so far as to create a mash-up website called ThePirateGoogle – a website that has since been blocked.

Even though lawyers have been contemplating the legal implications of the guilty verdict for Google, one observant user noticed a feature in the Google AppEngine that may be a surprise to many. It’s a service known as IPNM which allows users to use BitTorrent trackers to upload to friends – an app that is currently hosted by Google.

It should be noted that the service has been running for about a month now, but it’s confusing that when Google cries foul over people comparing them to ThePirateBay when they, in turn, offer an app that provides a similar service themselves. While it doesn’t appear that the service is searchable yet, what’s to stop someone from creating a private forum and running the BitTorrent service through IPNM? That much isn’t clear. What also isn’t clear is whether or not the service is filtered.

Still, this won’t do much to quell those who say that there is a double standard going on here – more than likely re-invigorate the debate.

For reference, when some people refer to the “Google double standard”, there are those who believe there is a legal double standard when it comes to looking at how Google operates and one of the reasons why ThePirateBay was found guilty. As referenced in the article regarding the legal implications towards Google, ThePirateBay was found guilty based on the fact that it is possible to download copyrighted material through their services. There are those who say that given that it is possible to download copyrighted material through Google in some form or another, then there should not have been a reason that ThePirateBay should have been found guilty – thus, why is Google allowed to operate in Sweden thanks to this ruling? So essentially, the “Google double standard” to some is not a criticism towards Google, but rather a criticism towards this point in the ruling that was handed down against ThePirateBay admins. It’s “double standard” because one site can operate in such a way while another website can’t in a similar fashion. It’s “Google” because the comparisons are primarily referencing Google.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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