Google might be cracking down on drug sellers, but don't worry: the darknet has you covered for all your illicit search needs. A new search engine called Grams has popped up, and it promises to make it easier for you to find black market goods including drugs, guns, stolen credit card numbers and even fake £100 Tesco vouchers.
Grams isn't officially affiliated with Google in any way, shape or form (obviously) – it just mimics the look, feel and user friendliness of the most popular search engine in the world. It's even got an "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. The site launched in beta last week and is accessible only through Tor, the anonymizing browser that masks your IP address.
So far, the engine can search the listings of eight dark web marketplaces, including SilkRoad2, the second incarnation of the infamous drug marketplace. You can even switch between currencies like pound sterling, US dollars and Bitcoin to see how much that Glock or thousand-pill batch of ecstasy will cost you in different countries.
Its creator, who goes by the name gramsadmin, told WIRED that he developed the entire site on his own after noticing that people on forums and Reddit were "constantly asking" how to find reliable sellers and markets.
"I wanted to make it easy for people to find things they wanted on the darknet and figure out who was a trustworthy vendor," he says. The anonymous developer is even working on a Google-like algorithm and scoring system that pushes the best-reviewed products to the top of the search results, not unlike how Google ranks the most credible sites in their results page.
Why is this a big deal? Well, if the results of this year's Global Drug Survey are to be believed, there are more people buying drugs online in the UK than ever before. 22.1% of British respondents admitted to buying drugs over the internet, with 44.1% having first done so in either 2012 or 2013, during the heyday of Silk Road.
Other dark web marketplaces have sprung up since the highly popular Silk Road, but access is restricted to those who know the exact (and complicated) URLs of these sites. Grams streamlines that entire process. Since the FBI shut down Silk Road, some thought that signalled the end of the darknet's morally dubious, drug-shilling frontier days – but clearly, that was before Grams came along.