Late last year, Google made changes to how its autocomplete and Instant search services dealt with piracy-related terms like "BitTorrent" — it blocked them entirely. Now Google's taking the fight directly to sites like The Pirate Bay, ISOHunt, and TorrentReactor by blocking their proper names from autocomplete and Instant. These results are not being filtered out of Google's search index entirely — Google just isn't making it any easier for casual pirates to get to these sites. We did some testing of our own, and found that while the piracy filter is largely effective, there a few inconsistencies. While "The Pirate Bay" is completely blocked from autocomplete and Instant results, a search for "Lady Gaga BitTorrent" is autocompleted and served up in Instant results.

It's worth noting that just last week, Google protested the Stop Online Piracy Act along with eight other internet giants, even as it continues to censor and filter its own search results in an effort to better comply with copyright law. The moves aren't unreasonable, but they place Google in the tenuous position of saying the government can't ask it to do what it already seems to be doing of its own accord. We'll see how the search giant tries to maintain this balance in the months ahead.