Google in recent times has implemented information boxes at the top of search results to display the information. This saves the searcher time as they already get the desired information without having to click through to a website.
Lyrics sites such as Genius dislike this immensely as it means that less people need to visit their website as Google already give them the results they require.
Of course Google needs to scrape these results from somewhere and it seems that they may have been caught ‘Red Handed’ lifting lyrics directly from the Genius website. Although Google deny any wrongdoing the proof is fairly irrefutable (and these are not alternative facts).
Back in 2016 Genius started a type of watermarking pattern in its lyrics where it alternated between straight and curly single-quote marks in the exact same sequence in every song. The Morse Code created by these when converted to dots and dashes spelled out ‘Red Handed’, repeatedly.
For it’s part Google have said that these ‘information panels’ are licensed from partners and not actually created by Google — thus implying that one of these partners of Google was lifting said lyrics. Google have opened an investigation, finally, after it was reported by the WSJ — Genius had already reported it to Google in the past without any investigations being opened.
Genius have said that they have noticed the lyrics being lifted word for word and apostrophe for apostrophe by ‘Google’ for over 100 songs, a claim verified by the WSJ. Google have said that they will terminate any agreement with partners ‘not upholding good practices’.
While as a searchee I love the Google information panels but as a provider of information online I think a lot of websites would be very upset with Google doing this. Imagine if there was an informational panel with all the tech news (and they copied our content directly) — there would be no Ausdroid. Now that is a world not worth living in.