In Japan, Google Ordered To Remove Some Autocomplete Suggestions

The Japan Times reports Google has been ordered to turn off its Autocomplete search suggestion feature in Japan after being sued over some of those suggestions. However, Google says it’s only being ordered to remove specific suggestions, not to turn off the entire feature.

The man’s case was adjudicated on March 19th. He said he found out he lost his job several years ago and was rejected for new jobs due to the suggestions offered by Google. Specifically, when you typed in this man’s name, Google Autocomplete apparently suggested the man’s name along with criminal acts.

The Tokyo District Court approved the petition to require Google to turn off the feature, the Japan Times reported. However, after we initially posted this story based on the Japan Times article, Google sent us this statement:

A Japanese court issued a provisional order requesting Google to delete specific terms from Autocomplete. The judge did not require Google to completely suspend the Autocomplete function. Google is currently reviewing the order.

This is not the first time Google has been in legal trouble over the feature. It lost cases in France and in Italy over Autocomplete, and an Irish hotel has also sued Google over suggestions.

Google does indeed remove some auto-complete suggestions, such as piracy related terms and adult terms. But when it comes to reputation management, Google prefers to let the algorithm do its work.

To learn more about the system, see our comprehensive article, How Google Instant’s Autocomplete Suggestions Work.

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Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Legal | Google: Outside US | Google: Suggest


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Russell Dean Jensen

    Auto complete can also be bad if you are a webmaster targeting incorrect spellings of keywords. With auto complete everyone knows how to spell. 

  • ★☆★ Tam Nguyen ★☆★

    That sir, is making the web worse, not better. I don’t support that philosophy at all.

  • Mohammad Shadab

    Oh! shit man, very sad story of that person and hope he will find another job soon!

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