I’ve been thinking this one over for the best part of an hour now and genuinely have no idea where I stand on this one. Google’s Suggest feature has been a source of comedy and confusion since it’s debut, but now someone has actually successfully sued them over the results.
The question “why can’t I own a Canadian” is a great example of a weird, disturbing result of a Google Suggest query, but the truth is that the results are generated purely based upon common searches.
One unknown man took such offense at Google’s suggested terms linked to his name he successfully sued Google and CEO Eric Schmidt.
Google Suggest linked the man’s name with the words “rapist” and “satanist”, although the man had been convicted and jailed for corruption of a minor.
The court ordered Google to pay a single dollar in damages, a symbolic award clearly intended to slap Google’s wrist and ensure they take steps to reign in Suggest’s responses.
Essentially a convicted man took issue with a computer program’s algorithm and successfully sued the program creator for a dollar. Welcome to the web!