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Suing Google Suggest  (View post)

Niraj Sanghvi [PersonRank 10]

Wednesday, May 17, 2006
13 years ago5,162 views

At the same time, doing the kind of moderating that would prevent such lawsuits could backfire. You could start weeding out some legitimate sites with the illegal ones and that could have major implications for those legitimate sites. Obviously there's no way to please everyone, but who should really be accountable?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

The main accountability IMO goes to the actual site offering the crack. Imagine you create a camera and someone photographs a crime – should the camera maker be held responsible, or the person making the photograph, or the person committing the crime? Google is taking digital snapshots of the web and its searching behavior, and Google Suggest is one "view" on this data... in this case, it seems the cracks were highly popular related searches :)
But if Google starts to moderate only *partly* then this becomes unfair. Then people might have reason to complain – why did you remove this not that?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

(On a side-note, moderation in China can backfire in the same way, i.e. every country sees it has the power to create laws against specific Google results, which Google – being fair to every country – would then need to remove. Of course, China results "moderation" is already firing in the wrong direction.)

Niraj Sanghvi [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

The problem is the (legitimate) software maker. They can't go hunting down and closing every site offering a crack – there may be thousands, and they maybe under different countries' jurisdictions. Google gives them a central point where they can at least reduce peoples' knowledge of the illegal sites that exist. I think this is where the camera analogy doesn't work. The "view" that Suggest provides is quite different than just offering results to a search. It's offering other searches too.

I am in agreement that the sites with the crack should be the accountable ones, but I thinking enforcing that is impossible. However, making Google change something would have negative implications as well, and shifts accountability to a place it shouldn't be.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

> enforcing that is impossible

Agreed...

/pd [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Why Impossible ??

Why is google indexing these sites ?? just drop them from the index . Once this is done, they will not get assoiciated as a "suggest term".

After all the "suggest term" physcially is created based on the webcontent avialble on these sites..

Niraj Sanghvi [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Because not indexing them is not as simple as it sounds. Unless someone manually blocks every single illegal site (and even then), there will be many legitimate sites that get flagged and not indexed. These legitimate sites would be denied traffic and potential revenue from a search engine because they were accidentally flagged. Censoring the internet or a search index is a very tricky business, and raises questions about censorship. Maybe the site is illegal, but what if they are hosted in a country where their content is legal? Does Google only remove it from the index for countries where it's illegal?

I don't think you can expect Google to have such accountability just because they serve as a portal to finding such pages.

Eric [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

I see it differently.

The problem is that Google offers suggestions not the fact that illegal versions can be found through Google. Google offering them to take down the illegal websites is not what they ask nor the solution if they continue to suggest cracks.

People are suggested by Google to look for illegal versions even when they initially not intended do. Google uses a wide range of information to do this prediction (as they state themself).

People looking for an illegal version won't buy a regular product but people initially looking for the real stuff and then being suggested to look for an illegal is different.

I endorse Philip's comment: if Google is filter sex keywords etc... why the hell do they allow this?

/pd [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

either way its tricky business... Getting caught with the hands in the cookie jar – either way jurts!!

Censorship hurts , likewise getting sued hurts..!! :)-

Eric [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

It ain't censorship as the request doesn't affect the index itself.

Google offers the possibility for trademark holders to block competitors from showing ads.

If a company asks for not showing suggestions of illegal versions when its is being used then I don't understand it.

Imagine you would enter a computer store and ask for a Windows product and the sales guy tells you to look for an illegal copy around the corner. Yes the illegal shop around the corner should be closed but is the sales guy fully innocent?

Also the lawsuit has already taken place but is being continued. They reacted (as Google's lawyers did) on the lawsuit as they were asked by a journalist. So as far as I can see it ain't about free PR because otherwise they would have made a press release when the lawsuit was started (back in February).

Niraj Sanghvi [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

I agree with Eric that the index is not the issue, and Suggest is. The Windows analogy works well. You would tell the sales guy to stop directing people to the illegal store.

It'll be interesting to see how other search engines deal with this as they come out with similar technology.

elyk [PersonRank 6]

13 years ago #

>>if Google is filter sex keywords etc... why the hell do they allow this?
I suspect that that's suggest's version of "safesearch", which is on by default. By this logic, safesearch should filter illegal content as well
>>It ain't censorship as the request doesn't affect the index itself.
Does the china censorship affect the index itself? Nobody knows, but I'm thinking it doesn't. First, it would be much more difficult to maintain different indexes for different countries. And they must have the sites indexed somewhere, or how would they be able to tell you which ones were removed? They've got to know that page had the keywords you were searching for

Google in the Wrong [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

Google's argument will be that it's the community that is responsible. Problem is, google isn't community run. It's privately owned.

Am I, google or anyone else allowed to allow the community to upload child porn photos to a privately owned site and then pass the blame on to those who took the photos or those who uploaded them? NO!

Can software piracy be stopped? YES! Sue a couple of pirate users and then release a few hundred press releases about it. Free advertising at the same time.

Personman [PersonRank 8]

13 years ago #

This one is really, really tricky. I think the right answer might be that Google Suggest is simply a failed concept – no matter how many words they block or specific examples they take down, innocent people are always going to be pointed to illegal or otherwise questionable content. It's sad, but I actually hope they lose this one. I mean, I certainly don't care if it suggests something illegal or nasty, but someone somewhere is going to.

On second thought, maybe the answer is simply renaming Google Suggest – making it a feature of Trends for example. While it exists under the Suggest moniker, people will assume that Google itself is somehow 'suggesting' that they visit the displayed sites, and that's what leads to problems. If instead they brand it as value-neutral data, I think many of these problems would be avoided.

RMB [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

Well if you're going to target Google Suggest with this, you might as well target Google period. I'd guess I can search for "Call of Duty" and find a CD key for it, even though I specifically typed in and entered "Call of Duty" and the servers specifically processed "Call of Duty".

So, really, if this is proven to be Google's fault, they will either have to do MAJOR work to satisfy everyone, or simply cease to exist. That goes for all similar search engines.

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