Google autocomplete has been a helpful—if not amusing—feature of Google search. But Google might be forced to lessen the efficiency of its autocomplete feature. Japan’s Tokyo District Court has petitioned to suspend specific terms Google provides in responses to search queries. The court claims that those terms are defamatory and violates users’ privacy.
A Google user in Japan claims that Google autocomplete suggested queries associated with criminal acts and the suggested terms were believed to be responsible for the man’s sudden job termination several years ago. The man’s lawyer did not specify how Google was associated with the plaintiff. However, Google has been ordered to suspend the suggestions feature in Japan.
Autocomplete has been a helpful tool for some users in the past. Googlers typing a single word may receive a number of suggestive queries. Users may also choose to deactivate the feature.
Google says autocompletions depend on what other people are searching. Google also looks at users’ Web History so that they may determine which suggestions are more efficient.
The company makes note that the autocomplete system isn’t perfect. One term that is considered a policy violation in one language may not be acceptable in another—the system does not take this into account.
Google says the order received by the Tokyo District Court was not broad. It is currently reviewing the order.