A French man has won 5,000 euros in libel damages against Google, after claiming that searching for his name in the outfit's all-conquering search engine turned up a list of somewhat unflattering results.
The man, who was not named and referred to as M. X, complained that Google's 'Suggest' function helpfully recommended searching on terms such as “M. X... rape”, “M. X... satanist”, “M. X... prison” and “M. X...rapist”, according to court documents dug up by French legal site Legalis and subsequently reported in Le Monde.
He claimed the search suggestions were damaging to his reputation. He had previously been found guilty of corrupting a minor and was appealing the conviction,
Google has a month to remove the offending suggestions or face further fines of 500 euros per day.
Google said it intends to appeal the decision.
In an email to Reuters, Google sought 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," the corporation claimed.