Bloomberg News

Google Told by Tokyo Court to Limit Autocomplete, Kyodo Says

March 26, 2012

Google Inc.'s home page is displayed on a computer screen in Santa Clara, California, U.S. Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Google Inc.'s home page is displayed on a computer screen in Santa Clara, California, U.S. Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Google Inc. (GOOG) was ordered by the Tokyo District Court to suspend its autocomplete search function after a man alleged that it violated his privacy, according to a Kyodo News story published on the Japan Times website.

Google refused to suspend the feature, saying that its U.S. headquarters isn’t regulated by Japanese law, according to the report.

The Mountain View, California-based company, owner of the world’s most popular search engine, is reviewing the order, according to an e-mailed statement from Google to Bloomberg News.

“A Japanese court issued a provisional order requesting Google to delete specific terms from autocomplete,” the company said. “The judge did not require Google to completely suspend the autocomplete function.”

Autocomplete predicts searches for users as they start typing queries, in part by using the popularity of search terms, the company said. Google said it doesn’t determine these terms manually -- suggested queries are drawn from items that have been typed in by other Google users.

To contact the reporters responsible for this story: Takehiko Kumakura at tkumakura@bloomberg.net; Brian Womack in San Francisco at Bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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