Google pays French bloke damages for dodgy auto-suggest

Google has had to splash out $6,672 in libel damages to a man who claimed that searches for his name automatically yielded a list of harmful suggestions.

A French Court ordered the search giant to pay a man, who remains anonymous, after his name came up in suggested terms when typing his name in on Words associated with his name included “rape,” “rapist” and “prison,” which court documents claimed were damaging his reputation.

The bloke wasn’t completely innocent, it appears, with documents suggesting he had previously been given a prison sentence for corrupting a minor.

Nevertheless the Superior Court of Paris ordered Google Inc to remove the “harmful” suggestions from the search and pay the man. However, it said the search term suggestion function was not itself illegal.

According to Reuters Google confirmed the decision in an e-mail on Saturday.

A Google spokesperson said the firm would appeal the decision.

“It is important to point out that Google Suggest is an aggregate of the most popular searches based on past requests from users. Google does not suggest these terms,” ‘Ogle told Reuters.