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No More Suggestions from Google Instant in Italy

Google is world renowned for being one of the best search engines available to date. It is used by millions of people around the world, and Google utilizes user search content history to make suggestions for other users based upon what is most commonly searched for. Moving forward with this technology Google created Google Instant to automatically provide a user with suggestions for content that they might be searching for. It is a good idea, but the suggestions provided are not always right, and to some, can actually be considered offensive.

This was the case in Italy when an unnamed man decided to search for his name using Google's search engine. Instead of finding himself he found his name connected with terms 'truffa', meaning fraud, and 'truffatore', meaning con man. He took Google to court for the libeling of his good name. Google protested saying that the company does not have control over the suggestions provided by its search engine. That instead its search engine suggestions run off of what is searched most by individual users' search history and other's search history who have keyed in similar terms. Google also declared that it was protected under E-Commerce Directive safe harbour provisions because it was hosting a provider, and could not be held responsible for the misrepresentation of someone else's name.


However, on March 31, the Court of Milan ruled in favor of the unnamed man stating that Google was the provider of the auto-fill suggested content, and therefore could be held responsible. Google was disappointed by the ruling and stated that the company was considering its options at this point. For now the auto-fill suggestions for the man's name have been removed, but this action demonstrates just how easily a simple suggestion can really hurt.

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Apr 07, 2011