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...he was told by friends and family that typing "Mark Maughan" into a Google search engine delivered "alarming, false, misleading and injurious results" about him and the business.
Girardi wants a court order to prevent Google from using PageRank. He said members of a class action could include anyone also allegedly libeled by the search engine.
- serps as editorial content. No one has ever sued a search engine purely on the grounds of the serps themselvs. If you search for "poison chicken" and the local chicken resturant site turns up, is that libel? That is part of this suit.
- Delayed listings. The information that the gentlman found on google was *not* on the serp listed site.
Google maintained it was not responsible and said the state board was responsible, even though the offending information did not appear on the state board site, the suit states.
"The state board correctly reported that Maughan failed to pay his dues on time, the lawsuit said."
It sounds like Maughan's failure to pay his dues was on the state site. If there were a number of other firms with problems all on one page, I can see how google SERPS which bring up somewhat random content could bring up somebody elses information in a way that looks as though it was applicable to him.
Another quote from the article,
"The lawsuit charges that PageRank system created by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin pulled information from the state board's Web site, but changed the context and reformatted it, attributing incorrect information to "individuals to whom the disciplinary information does not apply."
Seen it a bunch of times in name searches, it probably showed the sentence containing someone else's name that was also "Mark" on the same page with some sort of disciplinary or criminal action and said that was the match for his full name, so in the SERP it appears that he was the one that had received the censure (or whatever it was).
Next they'll sue every search engine in the world, and every site with a meta-tag with keywords in it for having keywords in them.
If the state took this seriously, they'd have to confirm that I was born April 17, 1929, and lived in a different state from when I was born on April 9, 1922 and lived in Jacksonville and that I've died twice and lived in 2 places at once for quite a while. (Note that I live in Canada). Oh wait, what was posted about him was true.
"reformats information obtained from accurate sources, resulting in changing of the context in which information is presented."
From what I gather it is about how the snippets are presented in the SERPs. If so, what are the "..." between keyword chunks, chopped liver? If the summary is to be read as one non-stop sentence, people could make Google summaries say almost anything about anyone.
>Delayed listings. The information that the gentlman found on google was *not* on the serp listed site.
That is an interesting one. Google displaying out of date and potentially libelous info that has since been removed. The original offender is mitigated but Google is still is the "guilty zone"?
Google Ransom Note - Causing Some Grief [webmasterworld.com]
But combine the two together, as appears to have happened in this case, and maybe an action like this was inevitable? btw - I love the relevance of the term 'ransom note' in the current context. Wonder if that will ever make it to court?