Google Joins Tomorrow's SOPA Protest, Tells Admins How To Black Out The Right Way

Brad Chacos

Even though SOPA’s odds of worming through into law are looking increasingly slim, it’s still a threat, as is PIPA, its sister bill in the Senate – and websites are lining up to combat it. After Reddit announced it would be blacking out on January 18 to protest the bill, a host of other organizations followed suit , culminating in Wikipedia’s announcement that it, too, would shut down tomorrow. Today, Google said it would lend its voice to the cause – but not with a full-fledged blackout. One of its employees also outlined how websites can blackout in a search-friendly way.

Tomorrow, some of the most valuable virtual real estate on the ‘Net – Google’s home page – will include a link to a page that outlines Google’s opposition to SOPA and PIPA. It’s not a blackout, but given Google’s giganticness – my grandmother actually calls Google the Internet, in a naïve rather than ironic way – it’s a strong move nonetheless.

"Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet," a Google spokeswoman told CNET . "So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our US home page."

Meanwhile, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Pierre Far explained how websites who want to temporarily shut down – “Perhaps for server maintenance or as political protest” – could do so without adversely affecting their search rankings. Basically, you’ll want to use a 503 HTTP status code, but if you want more details, be sure to check out Far’s post on Google+. (Note, also, that he posted the information on his personal account, so it isn’t officially sanctioned by the search giant.)

Twitter's CEO, on the other hand, says calls to shut down that service are "just silly." Check out the tweet below.

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