The Google Feed, now known as Google Discover, is a delicate balance of what's currently hot online and what you usually read or might be interested in. There's a mathematical reason why any article shows up on it, and that's why you shouldn't be surprised if you see pirated links or torrents there — even if this sounds a little unusual and is, clearly, an oversight from the team behind Discover's recommendations.

This issue was brought to our attention by our tipster who spotted an Avengers Endgame download link among his Discover cards. But the phenomenon isn't new and has been happening for a while — there are plenty of examples of it occurring in the past.

If you see these links, I can think of a few reasons why they showed up. Chief among the responsible factors is whether you previously searched for or browsed pirated content. Perhaps it was a recent search for this specific subject, or perhaps your browsing history has some similar examples from the past.

It's also possible that a great number of users who are interested in the same movie, music release, game, TV show looked for pirated content, so Google's algorithm is making that same association for you. Think of when you check product X on Amazon and you get the list of items others purchased after buying or looking at that same product X. It's a similar logic. Other users who looked for Avengers Endgame searched for download links, you're interested in Avengers Endgame, ergo you may want the download links as well.

Plus, given the popularity of torrents and illegal downloads, they're very likely to be associated with a high number of interactions in Search and Discover, which creates a positive feedback loop that makes Google's algorithms favor them over some other articles. And unless the offending source was DMCA'ed, there's nothing stopping them from showing up in search results and, well, your Discover feed.

I find the situation peculiar. On the one hand, you want Discover to serve you things that you're highly likely to click on, which for some users may include torrents and illegal download links. On the other hand, these recommendations are officially coming from Google, and they're not being spurred by an active search you're making but are passively (on your end) trickling into your news, so the end result is that Google seems to be pointing people toward pirated content and hence encouraging its distribution. Amusing for us, yes, but for copyright holders not so much.