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Google France Fined

Google Fined $65,000 in France over automatic word suggestionA Paris Court ordered Google France to pay €50,000 ($64,670) to Lyonnaise de Garantie, a French insurance company after its search engine automatically added the word “escroc” (“crook” or “swindler”) after the company’s name, according to a report from The Local, a French newspaper.

BFM Business news reported that, American search company ran into similar problems when an individual found his name was automatically followed by “violeur” (“rapist”).

In the case of this French company, when you typed in their company name, Lyonnaise de Garantie it suggested at the end of the name escroc, which means crook or swindler.

Google Suggest, an auto-complete system, part of Google Instant, suggests the rest of the phrase based on the first few characters or words typed in. The suggestions are based off of search query volume. So if many people are searching for your name with an offensive term at the end, Google will use that data to searchers as a possible likely query match.

Google lost the case and was ordered to pay €50,000 ($64,670).

A Paris court held that the addition of the offending word “was offensive towards the company.” The court said that Google should be able to exercise “human control” over the functioning of words suggested by its search engine.

Google said the auto-complete functionality was not the “expression of a human thought”, an “opinion” or a “value judgement or criticism” but was the result of its automatic algorithm.

In other, Google news, Google search now returs results for [site:co.cc] search queries. Google had delisted all sites on a co.cc domain name on July 1, this year, citing “very large fraction of sites” on the co.cc domain to be “spammy or low-quality” and felt it was warranted, to simply block the subdomain to its entreity from showing up in Google’s results.

Here is what the [site:co.cc] search results looks now and looked previously:

Google.com now shows co.cc search results

Google blocked co.cc search results

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