As some of you know, it is possible to use Google in more complex ways than simply typing “Scarlett Johansson” or “conspiracy theories” and clicking the search button. For instance, you can type “Scarlett Johansson” and “conspiracy theories” and “-fake moon landing” at the same time and get returns for pages that are only about Scarlett Johansson and conspiracy theories that don’t involve faked moon landings. Or you can get Google to search by artist for free and potentially illegal MP3s posted anywhere on the Web.
A while back a popular and useful primer on advanced Google searching was tweaked into something a little more copyright-infringing, which was given a prettier interface and a new name: G2P. I imagine if you say those three syllables to any on-point major label record executive right now you could probably watch beads of sweat actually emerge on their foreheads. What G2P means, in basic terms, is that you can punch in a search for any artist–say a major back-catalog cash cow, a current chart heavyweight, or a label’s credibility act that needs all of the sales it can muster on a potentially underperforming sophmore album–and within seconds have a comprehensive list of free MP3s by them. And unlike P2P networks like LimeWire or BitTorrent hosting sites like Pirate’s Bay–which the labels patrol regularly–G2P offers a distributed network of sources that can be searched with complete anonymity.
As long as Google keeps your searches private, that is. Given Google’s generally hard-line stance on privacy and unwillingness to compromise its search tools, I’ll wager that the company will keep its G2P potential open. Sure, the quality and comprehensiveness of your searches are going to have a built-in variability factor, but on the plus side the RIAA will have a much harder time figuring out where to send their lawsuit letters. (Not that you would ever do anything to hurt them.) Do you think this Pandora’s candy box is going to stay open for the taking, or are we about to see some truly epic lawsuits about to be thrown around?