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Google's Autosuggest Blacklists Grooveshark

Jimmy Haas

by Jimmy Haas

Published July 23, 2013

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Grooveshark has faced an unending series of legal challenges since its creation, and now Google has taken it off the list of options that appear automatically in the search box when you enter the first part of the word. It still appears if you enter the entire word, but Google will not fill in the rest of it for you. Google has a policy of doing this to companies that are involved in piracy of some form.

Grooveshark provides free streaming for millions of songs, but unlike Spotify and other streaming services, it does not have the licenses to these songs. According to Inc.com, the songs are uploaded by users, which allows Grooveshark to rely on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act from 1998, which allows websites to host uploaded songs as long as they comply with removing them if the rights holders ask. Once removed, the songs usually have a way of getting back onto Grooveshark's platform soon afterwards though.

Grooveshark has been sued by every major label, even EMI, which once was the only major to actually license its music to them. Its application has been banned from the Apple Store, Google Play, and Facebook. It has had to layoff workers and scale back growth plans due to the constant legal issues and general backlash from the music industry.

Google's autosuggest blacklist is the latest blow to Grooveshark. The move will certainly hurt Grooveshark's visibility and traffic, due to the ubiquitous use of Google. Which, as TechCrunch points out, says a great deal about Google's power in determining what is acceptable and what is not. Which in some ways, is far more disturbing than Grooveshark's lack of licensing.

Not to mention, of course, that Google Play Music All Access recently launched, so Grooveshark is technically a competitor. But with Google having a hand in almost everything these days, who isn't?

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