Función autocompletar de Google

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Google Autocomplete attempts to speed up searches by using search prediction in the Google search bar when users type a word. The predictions are generated by an algorithm based on previous searches by the user and other users, as well as the inclusion of terms in the search index. Although, in theory, this is a neutral and automatic function, in reality, it has led to legal disputes, such as that decided on by the judgment of the Puchena Court of First Instance and Examination on September 18, 2017.

This is the first ruling to be handed down in relation to the Google Autocomplete function of the Google search bar in our country. The source of the litigation is the request for withdrawal of content filed by a real estate company to Google Inc. The company in question unsuccessfully asked the search engine to remove the autocomplete “money laundering” that appeared when entering its brand “promobys” in the search bar. Following Google’s refusal to remove the autocomplete, the company sued it, on the basis that associating the term “money laundering” with the brand “promobys” was an infringement of its right to honor.

However, the Puchena Court of First Instance and Examination dismissed the claim, understanding that Google Inc. acted with due diligence by refusing the withdrawal request, because in this case the right to information prevails over the right to honor. This is because the Autocomplete suggestion is the result of numerous news articles that link the company to activities related to money laundering, which shows the veracity of the prediction and of the news articles that underpin the prediction.

Also, the Puchena Court of First Instance and Examination considered that the function does not directly make allegations or judgments; the internet users themselves cause the terms to appear together in the autocomplete function by entering the word “promobys” and “money laundering” together. The judgment adds that the search engine does not create the content, but is merely a search channel that supplies information provided by other media, and is purely a mechanical process.

The judgment, which is consistent with case law in other jurisdictions, has been appealed. We will provide updates on the blog on the appeal decision handed down in due course.

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