Google blackout
Google censors its logo in protest against SOPA and PIPA. Google

Google has changed how it scans web pages and has provided advice to help Wikipedia, Reddit and others remain high in search results while they black out to protest Sopa and Pipa.

Wikipedia, Reddit, Wordpress and others blacked out their websites Wednesday - essentially stopping them from being viewed - in protest over the controversial Stop online Piracy and Protect IP Acts pending in the U.S. Congress, which sites claim will censor the Internet.

"Hello webmasters!" Google's Pierre far said on Google+. "We realize many webmasters are concerned about the medium-term effects of today's blackout. As a precaution, the crawl team at Google has configured GoogleBot to crawl at a much lower rate for today."

Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., crawls - or scans - websites every day for keywords and content, and then ranks them accordingly in search results; the most relevant and trustworthy websites are returned higher up in search results than less trustworthy sites.

By blacking out Wednesday, Google has been unable to properly crawl Wikipedia and other sites, which could spell disaster by not appearing favourably in search results. To fix this, the search giant has slowed down its crawling, meaning that "results of websites participating in the blackout are less likely to be affected."

Google also participated in the protest by censoring its famous icon on the homepage, covering the company name with a large grey box; this, together with aiding sites which chose to blackout, underlines Google's commitment to protesting against Sopa and Pipa.

If passed, the two acts have the potential to give US authorities the ability to arrest and imprison Internet users for seemingly minor offenses, like uploading a video to YouTube with copyrighted music in the background.