Google and its CEO, Eric Schmidt, are in a little bit of trouble in France. Due to the appearance of some controversial search suggestions in connection with a plaintiff’s name, a court’s convicted both the company and the man of defamation.
Specifically, it seems that Google France would suggest terms like "prison," "rape," "rapist," and "Satanist" when searchers would try to look up an individual (who was once convicted of corrupting a minor).
So the individual, whose name has been kept private so far, filed a lawsuit, and this conviction is the result.
Google’s now supposed to pay the plaintiff
€5,000 (or about $6,700) to cover his court costs. The search giant’s also supposed to ensure that its suggestions don’t veer into uncomplimentary territory of this sort again.
Google plans to appeal the ruling, though, pointing out in a statement that search suggestions don’t come from within the company, and are instead sourced from the most popular searches conducted by users.
It remains unknown when Google will again get a chance to prove that point. Otherwise, additional details are available here if you’re interested and can either read French or tolerate a not-too-terrible translation.