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Google, Eric Schmidt Convicted of Defamation Because of 'Suggestions' in Search

If you're a Google user, you are more than likely familiar with the company's Suggest feature, which shows you a list of possible searches related to the keywords you've entered into the search bar. Though it seems obvious that this feature is automated and operates by displaying the most common searches related to what you've searched for, a French court has convicted Google of defamation after a user complained that his name had been associated with the terms 'rapist' and 'Satanist'.

The Telegraph reports that the user, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of "corruption of a minor" and sentenced to three years in jail earlier this year. The man appealed the court's decision but discovered that Google Suggest had linked his name to undesirable terms, including 'rapist' and 'Satanist'. French law dictates that a person is innocent until all appeals have been exhausted.

As a result Google has been ordered to pay symbolic damages of one euro plus €5,000 in legal fees after the Superior Court of Paris found the search giant guilty of "public slandering of a private individual." Google has said it will appeal the court's decision, which also stated that the Mountain View company must take preventative measures to ensure the same thing does not happen again, and remove "harmful" suggestions.

A Google spokesperson clarified that these suggestions are not from Google but based on searches performed by other users.

"These searches are algorithmically determined based on a number of purely objective factors including (the) popularity of search terms," she told the Telegraph. "Google does not suggest these terms. All of the queries shown in Autocomplete have been typed previously by other Google users."

Source: The Telegraph

  • plznote
    More stupid people!
    Reply
  • plznote
    Lolz 1 euro
    Reply
  • alexttlyrocks
    wow, where does it ever stop
    Reply
  • UbeRveLT
    Another stab at suing just to get money. Tsk tsk.

    Least he only got 1 euro! HA.
    Reply
  • What did you expect of the horribly liberal bench in France. They have the US Federal Court System beat any day when it comes to idiotic, and really dumb decision in their courts. I mean really, do you really believe the Google team, and specifically CEO Schmidt spent any time at all on creaming up suggestions to search strings! Google is a behemoth in size, no question, but it would need to be dozens of times larger to take such action. But, in their eagerness to "show up" the Americans the French outdid even themselves in this really ludicrous decision.
    Reply
  • visa
    When I started reading this I thought it was going to be in reference to the whole "French military victories" suggesting "French military defeats"...
    Reply
  • cj_online
    Seriously? Are you kidding me? This is undeniably absurd.
    Reply
  • borisof007
    Awesome, all that money spent for 1 Euro. Really breakin the bank there.
    Reply
  • Strider-Hiryu_79
    Hrm.... what if you search for and add other search word criteria/tags beside it like and if enough people search for that it becomes part of google suggest. Can those porn actresses sue too?

    LOL it would suck to be on the receiving end of google suggest.

    Seriously though I'm sure many people love the google suggest search suggestions appearing while they search for anything and everything they want on google or any other search site that uses a similar feature.
    Reply
  • Strider-Hiryu_79
    Sorry I forgot about the tags. What I meant to say was what if your search looked like this

    " + "

    Seriously I hope people don't go "let's sue" crazy after this article.
    Reply