Google Autocomplete is supposed to fill in your search term . You type in the first few letters of your search and Google gives you the top suggestions.
However a hotel in Louth, the Ballymascanlon, is suing Google over their “Ballymascanlon hotel receivership” suggestion.
The problem here is that the Ballymascanlon hotel is not in receivership and has never been.
The hotel was made aware of this search suggestion when they received “tearful telephone calls from brides-to-be” who were concerned about the status of their reservations, says the report in Next Web.
Understandably the hotel, during these hard economic times, is worried that the search suggestion is hurting business. Having made numerous attempts to have Google remove the Autocomplete suggestion the hotel is turning to the courts to try and force a resolution.
This isn’t the first time Autocomplete’s have ended in legal battles. According to Search Engine Watch Google has largely ended up paying large financial penalties and have manually changed the autocomplete field.
In France, two cases were resolved by Google making changes to the Autocomplete fields. The Internet giant only had to fork out for the plaintiff’s fees in these cases. An Italian court case ended with a mandate being that Google remove any Italian Autocomplete suggestions that were defamatory. Also in Argentina, the courts ruled that Google remove any Autocomplete suggestions that result in anti-Semitic or offensive queries.
The Ballymascanlon is the first court case of its type in Ireland. With the broad legal precedent it is considered likely that Google will lose the case,
Open Algorithm says that the owners of Ballymascanlon are “only seeking an injunction against Google using the suggestion and their legal fees, Ballymascanlon aren’t looking for any compensation and as such have no monetary motives behind the court case."