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Report: Google Loses Italian Autocomplete Defamation Case
engine




msg:4292560
 5:15 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Report: Google Loses Italian Autocomplete Defamation Case [zdnet.co.uk]
Google has lost a case in Italy over the defamatory nature of autocomplete suggestions, according to a lawyer for the complainant.

On Tuesday, lead counsel Carlo Piana wrote on his blog that the Court of Milan has upheld its earlier decision to order Google to filter out libellous search suggestions. These are the suggestions that pop up in Google's search input bar, proposing what the user might be wanting to search for.

People searching via Google for Piana's client, who remains publicly unnamed, were apparently presented with autocomplete suggestions including truffatore ("con man") and truffa ("fraud").


 

Demaestro




msg:4293452
 10:54 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Arg, I already said I shouldn't have brought it up.

The only reason I did was I was pointing out that suggested search is not an assertion, it is a question in short hand form posed to a user... and someone replied that the person didn't understand how Google works so they were correct in thinking that it was an assertion.

I, stupidly, countered that Stella didn't understand that hot coffee burns you and also sued, and that I didn't think that was the correct ruling either.

I fully understand all the points of that case and because I put personal responsibility above social hand-holding I think it is the wrong ruling.

Leosghost




msg:4293457
 11:27 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

filtering out prawn and filtering out terms that could be deemed defamation are hardly akin to each other and because you can do one doesn't mean you can do the other.

But they can and do filter out "portraits" as in "child portraits" .( and I mean that exact search string as in "oil paintings or other pictorial works that are representational images of children ) .and yet many people search for that exact combination ..( I know this for a fact..I have more than one site that supplies portraits ..categories include children ).so it should be showing up in the autosuggest as a suggestion if the autosuggest was based impartially upon what others have searched for ..

my logs show it as a distinct two word search string...shows up a lot ..more than adult portraits ;-)

And yet it doesn't get autosuggested..( doesn't mean I'm asking for it to do so )..but it does demonstrate that what they say they do..and say they can do ..and what they say about the how and why of what they do ..is refuted by the hard factual evidence ..

Depending on where one is and at what time of day one searches one can get between 2,000,000 and 1,500,000 "founds" on Google for that combination..and interestingly enough a link at the top of the results for "report images" .. the same link "report images" is absent on "adult portraits".

So they can and do filter with extremely fine and detailed and precise granularity ..and we all know how easy it is to trip" stop words" on adsense ..

The "not technically feasible" doesn't hold..their yardstick as to what and what not to filter is, as always based on USA laws and perceived and lobbied for mores..( which catches many European webmasters where partial nudity or even full nudity on the beach is culturally perfectly acceptable, as in "topless beaches" means any beach in France or Italy ) even when supplying results and searches and autosuggestions to other countries.

You disagree with a countries laws ..you don't go there and flout them ..whether the country is Italy or the USA...the USA takes that line about foreign companies or individuals who go to or have a "presence" in the USA..so why can't Italy or any other country do the same ? ..Why in the eyes of US webmasters is an Italian court wrong in saying what will be allowed in Italy..they are not telling you or Google what to do in New York..

And with respect if an Italian said that the decision of a US court was wrong on a similar matter the reply from most of the US webmasters would "be what is it of his business what a US court decides about what happens in the US ,its our country, our laws etc etc .."

This was a test case ..it made the law clear as it applies to search engines in general and Google in particular in Italy.

So Google has the choice ..obey the law in Italy and other countries it operates in ..or leave ..the same applies to other search engines or companies or individuals ..

Leosghost




msg:4293459
 11:36 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

The only reason I did was I was pointing out that suggested search is not an assertion, it is a question in short hand form posed to a user... and someone replied that the person didn't understand how Google works so they were correct in thinking that it was an assertion.


I think the Italian court and most European courts and possible USA courts would regard it as an association and by making "gratuitously" ( auto suggest has no function to search other than to display as many varied serps pages as possible and thus the search engine can charge advertisers for display ..instant is a similar IMO smoke and mirrors scam designed to increase search engine revenue without improving search )that association it can be considered as an insinuation..

BillyS




msg:4293476
 12:04 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

This case was argued in court. Google lost after presenting their case and I'm sure they had great lawyers.


I hope that's not everyone's trump card because we've seen time and time again that other countries do not see eye-to-eye with American business practices. We saw this with Microsoft and the European Union. I suspect we'll soon see the EU step in against Apple too.

While I do respect the fact other countries are not like the United States (actually, diversity of opinion is a good thing for our world), I'd be careful about coming to the conclusion that one country's judicial system will define how we all should be ruled.

GuyFromKlingon




msg:4293488
 12:30 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Italy newspaper say Berlusconi in bed with Google.

And Google is only 12 years old.

Demaestro




msg:4293496
 1:31 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

^^^lol that is hilarious^^^

minnapple




msg:4293499
 1:37 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

To start off, I apologize if I am asking a question previously posted.

So, if x-amount of people search for "google +[insert word/s here]", google+ will be displayed in an suggestion search for google?

If so, if enough people searched for wlestm + 28y2, a search for wlestm, should give a suggestion of wlestm 28y2.

Let's try it.

Demaestro




msg:4293503
 1:59 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Putting on my programming hat and after hanging in the garage I came to the conclusion that it IS possible for Google to filter out defaming statements.

The algo is simple, don't use the word "IS"

Instead of "X is scam" you simply have "X scam"

Leosghost




msg:4293518
 2:51 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

just tried that used "google a c"

got at

number 1 "google a company"
number 2 "google a call from santa"
number 3 "google a counts" ( really it was written that way ! )
number 4 "google a cpanel"
number 5 "google a cia front"
number 6 "google a c" ' the logic of why my initial search input shows up at number 6 escapes me )
number 7 "is google a corporation"
number 8 "is google a company"
number 9 "is google a credible website"
number 10 "how to send google a complaint"

So ..they start putting "is" in anyway ..pretty soon in the autosuggestions.

So they'd start putting "is x a scam" ..back to the rafters* see below

And by number 10 they have more or less started making it up all by themselves.

btw minnapple ..I tried your search string ..they gave me a"did you mean" and sent me to a serp for a similar but different search string ..and asked me if I'd prefer them to show me the results for what I actually asked for ..yes guys at the plex..that is why I typed the question..what part of "answer the question I actually asked first ..not what you think I should have asked" don't they "grok".

"hanging in the garage" ? ..hanging what ? or whom ..inquiring minds and all that ;-) otherwise we have to assume that you do your coding like a bat suspended from the rafters upside down* ;-)

oodlum




msg:4293521
 3:03 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

And the leap from auto-complete to search results in general is not large. I would guess that any search for the criminal in question's name is going to be populated almost entirely with results relating to his crimes.

There's very little difference. Both are auto-generated results based on 3rd party input. Both suggest that he's a criminal.


That is just the point. There are no web sites that say my brand is a scam. Not one. Only autocomplete. Yes I understand why, but as people have already said, "the algo did it" is a lame defense. There are no autocomplete suggestions for adult or torrent terms.

There is also a big difference between showing a user the results for something they search for, and suggesting they search for something.

[edited by: oodlum at 3:11 am (utc) on Apr 7, 2011]

minnapple




msg:4293523
 3:04 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

[btw minnapple ..I tried your search string ..they gave me a"did you mean" and sent me to a serp for a similar but different search string ..and asked me if I'd prefer them to show me the results for what I actually asked for ..yes guys at the plex..that is why I typed the question..what part of "answer the question I actually asked first ..not what you think I should have asked" don't they "grok".

"hanging in the garage" ? ..hanging what ? or whom ..inquiring minds and all that ;-) otherwise we have to assume that you do your coding like a bat suspended from the rafters upside down* ;-) ]

I pushed the search query [wlestm 28y2] out to a few hundred people through facebook. It will be interesting to see what happens.
Some will post the search text on their page others will perform the search.

Demaestro




msg:4293832
 7:38 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

just hanging out, got my hands a little dirty under the hood of the truck and sucked back a beer.... my daily sabbatical.

It's really the only place in my home without a computer screen in it, and my wife and son stay away because I give them chores if they dare enter.

crobb305




msg:4294823
 12:23 am on Apr 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I no longer see Google auto-completing any name (person, business, website, or otherwise) with the words "scam" or "fraud". Anyone else see this?

You can still search those terms in a generic phrase, but I don't see them being appended to anything that could be deemed a name.

walkman




msg:4294837
 1:44 am on Apr 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

number 7 "is google a corporation"
number 8 "is google a company"
number 9 "is google a credible website"

Does anyone believe that out of all things, people search most this for Google? Seems like a template for all companies.

cien




msg:4298322
 4:04 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Wow. How could Google filter out every possibly defamatory suggestion? And who decides what is defamatory?


Simple. By not providing that tool/feature or by taking FULL responsibility for its contents. That's a totally different tool from search. Google is the "publisher" of those entries, not the searchers. No user authorized Google to display that content. Google would've lost that case in the US too and faster.

"We believe that Google should not be held liable for terms that appear in autocomplete as these are predicted by computer algorithms based on searches from previous users, not by Google itself," the company said. "We are currently reviewing our options."


That statement from Google is beyond pathetic. :-) Who owns the Algo.? The whole case boils down to "predicted by computer algorithms".

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