It’s been a rather challenging year for torrent hosts as regulatory authorities continue the wrung the internet for minimizing illegal content. A range of leading websites, as a result, had to bite the dust and close shop. However, despite these strenuous efforts, pirates still exist and are always looking for new ways to do what they do best. Their most recent choice for posting these, although, will certainly come as a surprise – Google’s My Maps service.
As of late, Google My Maps has become a cesspool of illicit listings. These entries consist of various links which all lead to an online player or a download page that allows anyone to grab a copy of any recently leaked file such as the Game of Thrones debacle. “My Maps” is not a particularly popular platform and essentially, lets you create custom maps as the name suggests. However, the service hasn’t received much traction since its last update which was way back in 2016. It’s quite clear, therefore, that the search engine leader hasn’t paid attention to the tool or what people are posting there.
Of course, that fabricates an incredibly convenient situation for leakers as they don’t directly need to index their unwarranted website. Furthermore, being a Google service, “My Maps” listings are considerably biased and always tend to appear on the first page for any related search. Uploaders are also mentioning a slew of keywords in the description boosting the links even further. Adding a new entry takes roughly two minutes (if your internet connection is poor) when we tried it out.
Google, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily has a straightforward way of tackling this. They obviously cannot bring down individual users. In addition to that, there’s no proper method for locating these either. Moderators can delist the trending ones. However, that won’t solve the major issue the service is suffering from. As far as I can see it, there is only one option available here – remove the existing ones and add a validation process whenever someone tries to post a new listing. There’s also no way of reporting custom maps right now.
Google My Maps, however, isn’t the first website to become a victim of such workarounds. Facebook as well as YouTube is filled with posts that have links to torrent sites as the description and as a placeholder content as the title or the main video. It will be interesting to see whether Google tackles this or just let it slide.