Company Sues Google Suggest, May We Suggest An Alternative?

from the another-one dept

As Google has grown it's obviously become quite the lawsuit magnet. Some have sued it for not ranking them high enough in their index, while others have complained that Google links to illicit content, like child porn. In the latter case, the law's clear that Google is not responsible for others' content. But now a company is suing Google over their Google Suggest service, which offers search suggestions as the user types. They're not complaining, as one might have guessed, that Google isn't suggesting the company name, but rather that suggestions with the company name add words like crack and serials, which then point to tools that help hack the company's products. Google's likely defense, that the service just uses a neutral algorithm that reflects what people are searching for, might run into trouble since they do actively edit some suggestions (porn related ones, for example). Also, given the tech sophistication of some judges and juries, they might have a hard time explaining how a service called Google Suggest isn't really suggesting that people hack the company's software. It seems like this problem could be resolved, simply by adding some well-known hacker keywords to the banned list. This might impair some legitimate searches, but probably wouldn't cause too much damage to the largely experimental project. Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way to solve this problem?


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    an old guy, May 17th, 2006 @ 12:10pm

    Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way to solve

    Because lawyers have to eat.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    SMB, May 17th, 2006 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way to s

    What, they round out of young?

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    SMB, May 17th, 2006 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way

    round? gah...

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Swati, May 17th, 2006 @ 12:46pm

    People need better hobbies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Juan Perez, May 17th, 2006 @ 12:48pm

    Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way to solve

    Lawsuit is the most popular sport in America. And people behave accordingly. Other than lawyers.... who else smile when lawsuits happen? (see any ad in the yellow pages and you'll know what I'm talking about). Let's sue lawyers for driving out lives to death and insanity.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Chris, May 17th, 2006 @ 12:58pm

    Why?

    If this company wins Im hiring a lawyer to sue every yellowbook company for listing gun shop phone numbers. Cuz if they win then the same logic applies to any gun crime involving a gun legaly obtained. And thanks to the NRA, I'd be a billionaire.

     

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  7.  
    icon
    rijit (profile), May 17th, 2006 @ 1:26pm

    Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way to solve

    Well, without the lawsuit I doubt this website or any other would give it any news coverage. More often these days it looks like lawsuits are a better way to get national exposure than TV advertising. It seems, the more outlandish the lawsuit the more exposure it gets. I think the lawyers of these lawsuits that waste the courts time should be held liable for the costs of taking the case to court.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Brad, May 17th, 2006 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way to s

    You seem to forget that lawyers don't sue anyone unless a client asks them too.

    Same with the populist attack on "trial lawyers" as a way to reign in large jury awards.

    Lawyers don't award the money -- a jury of your peers makes the award. Attacks on lawyers usually come from companies who want to set a ceiling on their risk from injuries stemming from their produts -- or politicians trying to take power back from the people and the courts and placing it in the hands of their biggest campaign contributors.

    Malpractice death in Texas now has a $250K jury award limit. If I'm an insurance coverage looking at $300K in expenses to treat a burn patient -- I can now save $50K by letting the patient die. Nice.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    an old guy, May 17th, 2006 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best

    The meaning was clear - and funny - just a semantic problem. Yes - they already ate all their young and some of their old I think.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    an old guy, May 17th, 2006 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way

    None of my peers have ever been on one of those juries. The lawyers sit in on the meetings with their clients and offer suggestions. I'm not sure what this has to do with burn patients.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    an old guy, May 17th, 2006 @ 1:41pm

    lawyers should be held liable

    Or they could be required to eat their young if they lose.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Johnathan Swift, May 17th, 2006 @ 2:01pm

    New Service from Google

    Sounds like you've all gotten 'Google Suggest' confused with the service better suited to this discussion, 'Google Modest Proposal'

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Modded up, May 17th, 2006 @ 2:17pm

    Pointless

    Google can't win this even if they do a blacklist of words. New words will be used to describe the same thing - instead of "microsoft office [hack/crack/serial]" it'll be "microsoft office [h4ck/cr4ck/s3rial]".

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    DaveS, May 17th, 2006 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way

    It's true that most lawsuits require a client to initiate them, or at least be persuaded to initiate them. However, there are tremendous incentives for attornies and reluctant clients to file even if there are no real causes of action. The fact is that most cases like this never go to trial.

    A legal defense can easily run into 6 figures just to get to trial, let alone try a case in court. The company can pony up $100K in legal fees just to gamble on a summary dismissal in preliminaries versus $50K to settle out of court. Which action do you think the bean counter is going to recommend when his neck is on the block thanks to Sarbanes Oxley?

    I agree that we need a fair means of metering out justice when real wrongs have occurred. We also need to figure a way to weed out the nuisance lawsuits before they bankrupt our system of justice, both literally and figuratively. I think a reasonable way to do that is to take action against the lawyers who repeatedly file nuisance lawsuits.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    PJ, May 17th, 2006 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way

    Not really accurate. There is limit of $750,000 per case on noneconomic claims for medical malpractice. Under this limit, a patient injured by faulty medical care can collect a maximum of $250,000 from a doctor and an additional $500,000 from one or more hospitals or health care providers for pain and suffering, disfigurement and other compensation.

    ** Awards for loss of income and medical expenses are not capped. The $750,000 cap cannot be appealed to the courts.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Daniel Burr, May 17th, 2006 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way to s

    At 5 Star restaurants that is!

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Search Engines WEB, May 17th, 2006 @ 2:47pm

    Did they Contact Google First?

    Now why, again, is a lawsuit the best way to solve this problem?

    =============================

    Is it possible that some plaintiffs attempted to communicate with Google about the problem - BEFORE initiating costly lawsuits?

    But what would be the likely scenario of the average firm attempting to get Google to modify its ALGOs?

    Perhaps, an Amazon of an EBAY might have a ghost of a chance in getting the brief attention of the Chief Engineers, but can ANYONE else be affective?

    The lawsuit may COMPELL, Google to respond. As opposed to leaving it up to ethics.

    Everyone firm to be proactive about surviving and looking out for its interests.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    flan4u, May 17th, 2006 @ 3:00pm

    Re: New Service from Google

    I can see it now. Every time you use Google suggest it will ad a tag-line like "Not my idea" or "you asked!" or better yet "don't bitch it's free"

    Whatever happened to quietly pointing out a potential issue {not really a flaw} before slandering someone for poor workmanship?

    That's what this lawsuit is. It's Slander and an opportunistic lawyer or individual trying to make a quick buck even though Google suggest is still in Beta. And before you say anything, I know "Beta" is not a free pass to remove all responsibility as so many apps stay in Beta, but let's get real.

    If someone types in for example Adobe then hits enter, won't that bring up a greater number of Adobe software hacks and cracks and serials and better yet alternatives, than Google suggest will provide?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Joe, May 17th, 2006 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Pointless

    Not sure that that will be such a big problem. This isn't spam we're talking about, and they're not trying to eliminate these results from their index. Unless, for some reason people start searching for "microsoft h4ck" quite frequently (don't see why they would), then there's not reason that should come up in Google Suggest.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Starky, May 17th, 2006 @ 3:10pm

    America

    This is America! We can sue whatever we want, for no reason at all! Because this is America! The land of the Fat, and the home of the Idiots! YAY LAWSUITS! The American passtime!

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Tim Arview, May 17th, 2006 @ 3:12pm

    Part two is coming out soon...

    If this is won, the next logical step is to sue them for providing search results to "unethical" searches. Of course, we have to define "unethical."

    Perhaps "serials" is meant to describe the series of software made by the company (e.g. Software 1.0, Software 2.0, etc.).

    And "cracks" is meant to make consumers aware of vulnerabilities in the software.

    I'm not saying that's the case. (I realize it isn't.) I'm just saying that it's *possible*.

    If the software company really has that much of a problem with it, they should just pay more for the keywords "crack" and "serial." That way, when someone takes the suggestion, they get a link to the company's site - as opposed to a "crack" or "serial" site.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Laughing, May 17th, 2006 @ 7:08pm

    You seem to forget that lawyers don't sue anyone unless a client asks them too.

    Ever hear of class-action?

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Robert, May 17th, 2006 @ 7:08pm

    Law Suit

    WE can always go back to dueling. Pistols at 20 paces

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Jorn, May 17th, 2006 @ 8:17pm

    How pity Google is!

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2006 @ 8:42pm

    Re: Re: Pointless

    Tha twas the point of 133+, to get round word filters. If Google is forced to prohibit searches for certain words, 133+ is going to come back with a verngance.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Mike, May 19th, 2006 @ 7:35am

    Banned Word List Impractical

    What if I want to search for a tutorial that teaches me how to set up a group of batteries in a serial connection?

    Or what if I'm a history enthusiast doing a research project on the Enigma cypher machines, and I search for "crack the Enigma code"?

    Google isn't going to cripple that feature by doing that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    johnrichard, Feb 7th, 2007 @ 3:17am

    art&crafts

    Manufacturer of Wooden Handicrafts,Indian Handicrafts,

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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