Google Found Liable For Autocomplete Suggestions In Italy

from the oh-come-on dept

Here's yet another ridiculously bad ruling for search engines in Italy. Glyn Moody points us to the news of a blog post by a lawyer involved in the case (against Google) who is happy that his side prevailed and that Google is liable for search autocomplete suggestions. The case involved someone who was upset that doing a Google search on his name popped up "con man" ("truffatore") and "fraud" ("truffa") as autocomplete Google search suggestions. We've seen similar cases elsewhere, and France has (most of the time) also ruled against Google.

Of course, this is ridiculous for a variety of reasons. Google is not "creating" this content. It's accurately suggesting results based on what users are searching. Clearly, people are searching on this particular individual along with the two terms. That's not Google's fault. Yet Google is liable for it?

One interesting footnote: a part of the reason why the court ruled the way it did was because the court noted that Google already edited autocomplete suggestions for issues related to copyright infringement. Funny. That's exactly the issue we warned about when Google made the silly decision (following pressure from the US government) to start blocking certain keywords from autocomplete. The court seems to see this as proof that Google can and should be responsible for the content in that autocomplete box... Once again, it looks like the company would have been better off not meddling.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 1:14pm

    no good deed goes unpunished

    how many internet users does italy have? it seems italy [gubbermint] doesn't much care for the US-style internet. how much backlash would it get if american tech companies started packing up out of italy.

     

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  2.  
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    Zauber Paracelsus (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    I never really liked autocomplete much to begin with. Perhaps its better if Google just drops it altogether.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

    Fuuuuuck Italy. Just get out of Italy Google. They obviously have some kind of serious hatred for you, pull the fuck out and see how their citizens like the results of their .gov's action.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    Re:

    Your opinion truly is all that matters. I'm glad you've realized that.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Fernando, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 1:57pm

    Google to curate autocomplete results

    Google's solution is to curate these results. They're hiring now: http://www.google.com/intl/en/jobs/uslocations/mountain-view/autocompleter/index.html

     

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

  6.  
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    crade (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    Re:

    More likely this law was put in under pressure from the U.S.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Google to curate autocomplete results

    I think the job requirements eliminate most humans.

    Typing 32,000 WPM just seems a little fast for most keyboards to survive until lunch time.

     

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  8.  
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    wulfman (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

    Italy

    I run an IRC server and 99.99% of ALL .IT users come on to IRC channels to "lista" looking for fileservers for illegal content provided by people. They IMHO the WORST offenders on stealing content LMAO.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Italy

    Rizon, I take it? That's the first IRC server that I can think of that has a large filesharing base in it. Most channels actively ban people using the list function.

     

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

  10.  
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    Wulfman (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Italy

    Nope. but we disabled list functions.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Joseph, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 7:35pm

    Autocomplete Masnick

    In Google I typed Mike Masnick

    The autocomplete said:

    Mike Masnick nine inch nails

    Better get a manicure Mike, Google is calling you out.

     

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

  12.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 10:40pm

    Re:

    You realise you can turn it off if you want, right?

     

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  13.  
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    Mr. Oizo, Apr 6th, 2011 @ 12:23am

    It's not accurate

    Quote: It's accurately suggesting results based on what users are searching.

    This is wrong. It has merely to do what data is in the vicinity in google's graph. That has not necessarily to do with that what users search. E.g: Have a look at http://failblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/bbf5f39f-12c5-4bf9-a8da-0f27892c3e56.jpg or the more generic http://failblog.org/tag/autocomplete-me/

    Nobody searches these things. These are parts of sentences and they are merely associated with each other somehow and then placed behind each other. So it is inaccurate to state that google accuratley predicts that what people search.

     

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  14.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Apr 6th, 2011 @ 8:45am

    Re: It's not accurate

    """Quote: It's accurately suggesting results based on what users are searching.

    ...So it is inaccurate to state that google accuratley predicts that what people search."""

    Perhaps I'm missing something. Please point out where anyone said that Google is predicting what people will search on?

    However I hope that you're not trying to suggest that Google doesn't "accuratley" know what people *are* searching on when they use Google, because I don't want my brain to 'splode this early in the day.

     

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  15.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Apr 6th, 2011 @ 8:53am

    Re:

    While laced with a little more profanity than possibly necessary, I totally agree with your sentiment.

    Google, get out of there now, and don't go back till they beg you AND promise full immunity to stupid lawsuits.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Mr. Oizo, Apr 6th, 2011 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: It's not accurate

    The quote was from the Masnicks writing; second paragraph.

     

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  17.  
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    HothMonster, Apr 6th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's not accurate

    They are all searches someone has done in the past. That is why that site you listed is funny, because you ask yourself who the fuck was searching for these things.

    From googles own site explaining autocomplete:
    "*All of the predicted queries shown have been typed previously by Google users.* The autocomplete dataset is updated frequently to offer fresh and rising search queries"

    They are not "parts of sentences and they are merely associated with each other somehow and then placed behind each other" they actually are things people have typed into their search bar.

    source for quote: http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?answer=106230

     

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  18.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Apr 6th, 2011 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's not accurate

    I see. So in your mind, the word "suggests" is the same as the word "predicts". In my mind, those two words have very different meanings, especially in the current context. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2011 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re:

    [citation needed]

    Without proof, you're just going to have to face facts that people are stupid elsewhere too

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Mr. Oizo, Apr 10th, 2011 @ 1:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not accurate

    How would you then 'suggest' something accurately ?

     

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


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