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.

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Google Found Liable For Autocomplete Suggestions In Italy”

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21 Comments
Mr. Oizo says:

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.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

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.

HothMonster says:

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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