Google’s auto-complete results have been criticized numerous times in the past. Although these results are mostly the output of an automatic algorithm, to which the frequency of users’ queries also contribute, Google has faced legal actions over them. Now, a Japanese court has ordered Google to eliminate certain autocomplete results as they infringe upon the rights of an individual.
In this particular case, the autocomplete feature automatically populates many different crimes with the name of a man as soon as his name is being searched. According to the lawyer of this man, that with such autocomplete options tagged along with his name online, the man’s life has become a mess and he is unable to get a good job.
Google has been in hot waters in the past too over the autocomplete feature. When this feature automatically tagged ‘crook’ and ‘con man’ words with the autocomplete results for an insurance company, Google was fined by a French court.
However, Google’s defense that it has nothing to do with the autocomplete results and that these results are automatically generated, does hold. But to tackle issues like this, the company can perhaps start a manual ‘report result’ option using which, a user can tell the company is a certain results in factually incorrect.
To the Japanese court’s order, Google responded that it was ‘currently reviewing the order’ and that the court hadn’t ordered Google to completely suspend the autocomplete feature.
Image courtesy JCtennis.