Web

Man wins injunction against Google after claiming auto-complete web search ruined his life

Google Instant Crime SearchGoogle’s auto-complete feature — also known as Google Instant — is both handy and amusing, as it not only lets you find those tricky search phrases and ensure your spelling is correct, but also marvel at the baffling things your fellow humans have searched for in the past.

However, one Japanese man hasn’t found it amusing at all, as when he searches for his own name, it returns suggestions linking him with crimes he claims he hasn’t committed. It’s not just a couple of pages either, as he says by choosing one of the options returns at least 10,000 individual results.

Having been turned down by Google after requesting the terms be removed, the man, who has not been named, sought an injunction against the search giant through the Japanese courts.

This isn’t all about vanity either, as his lawyer claims the man lost his job and been turned down for others due to the search results, presumably after potential employers performed the almost de rigueur Google check before extending an offer.

After the case was adjudicated on 19 March, it has now been announced that the Tokyo court has approved the injunction and ruled that Google must suspend its auto-complete results.

Google has refused to comply with the order, and according to the Japan Times, has said it “will not be regulated by Japanese law” and that “the case does not warrant deleting the auto-complete suggestions.” Further legal action has been threatened.

Legal battles and controversy

Introduced near the end of 2010, Google Instant almost immediately attracted complaints, most notably from Yahoo, who blamed the service for a drop in its search market share.

More recently, a similar case in France saw Google remove the words “rapist” and “satanist” from searches involving a man’s name. Oddly, the man was convicted of corrupting a minor, so why it’s fighting against protecting the privacy of an innocent man in Japan is anyone’s guess.

Google creates its list of suggested results by using data from other searches, both long-term and current, along with geographical location and language. To weed out any offensive or indecent search phrases, Google Instant relies on a set of strict filters.

Despite repeated problems, there’s still no clear way to complain to Google about Instant results, as Google’s own Help page merely directs users with questions to the busy Google Search Forum rather than a dedicated page.

Google isn’t the only one to offer search suggestions though, as Bing, Yahoo and even DuckDuckGo all provide similar services. So one wonders whether the unfortunate Japanese man’s ordeal has only just begun.

Gaming

New ‘Stardew Valley’ content on the way, as game’s maker freezes next project

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone said that he will continue working on new content for the indie farming simulator. The developer previously said that he will devote all his time to his next game, but that has been placed on hold for now.
Digital Trends Live

Guitarist Dweezil Zappa on future projects and advice to young musicians

We chatted with guitarist Dweezil Zappa on the advice he would give to young musicians, if there is new music in store for next year, and what has the been the most memorable moment on his current tour.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Digital Trends Live

Cryptocurrency investor Ian Balina sees a comeback for cryptocurrency in 2019

We chatted with crypto investor Ian Balina on what the future is for cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin. He also gave us three things to look for when we are investing our own money.
Computing

Firefox 64 helps keep your numerous tabs under control

Mozilla officially launched Firefox 64 by placing new features into the laps of its users including new tab management abilities, intelligent suggestions, and a task manager for keeping Firefox's power consumption under control.
Computing

Email take-backsies! Gmail's unsend feature is one of its best

Everyone has sent a message they wish they could take back. How great would it be if you could undo that impulsive email? If you're a Gmail user, you can. Here's how to recall an email in Gmail.
Computing

PewDiePie supporters hack printers, hope to boost his subscription numbers

In an attempt to garner more subscribers for their favorite vlogger and secure his status as having the most YouTube subscribers, PewDiePie supporters claimed to have hacked thousands of printers worldwide.
Computing

Costco members can cut up to $200 off MacBook and iMac price tags

Costco is discounting MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops by as much as $200 as part of a members-only sale. It also has deals on select MacBooks and iMacs, with optional Apple Care in most instances.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.
Web

Chrome fights manipulative sites that don’t allow you to hit the back button

Have you encountered a webpage that won't let you hit the back button? Someun scrupulous websites employ what's known as history manipulation, preventing you from hitting the back button, but now Google Chrome will be fighting back.
Smart Home

Holiday shopping: Here are the final dates for Amazon’s free shipping promotion

If you're shopping with Amazon this holiday season, then time is fast running out if you want all of your gifts delivered before December 25. Here are the dates you need to know ...
Business

Google to expand New York City presence with $1 billion campus

Google is following in Amazon's footsteps with plans to expand its presence in New York City. The company announced on Monday, December 17 that it's investing $1 billion on three sites in Lower Manhattan for more than 7,000 workers.
Computing

Former Microsoft intern claims Google may have sabotaged Edge browser

Google's Chrome web browser has been able to establish such dominance that Microsoft is abandoning its web rendering engine, switching Edge over to Chromium, but did Google play dirty in an attempt to force Microsoft to make the decision?