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Irish Hotel Taking Google to Court over Auto-complete Suggestion

It appears that the only way to get Google to listen to genuine complaints about their auto-complete search prompts is to threaten legal action. The Ballymascanlon Hotel in Dundalk, County Louth was receiving “weekly calls” about concerned guests having seen the words “in receivership” appended in the search box whenever anyone searched for “Ballmas” as per screenshot below.

Obviously, this concerned potential guests to see this term associated with an hotel with which they were considering doing business. The Ballymascanlon Hotel was obviously deeply concerned at the effect that this was having on their business and as such made repeated attempts to bring the issue to Google’s attention. On most occasions, no reply was forthcoming and when one did come it was a standard copy and paste “Google endeavours to deliver the best user experience etc etc.” Ultimately, having received no meaningful response, the hotel was forced to threaten legal action. To see the details of just how much time and effort the hotel put into getting Google to listen, check out this article.

However, a check today as of 21 June would suggest Google has finally engaged and removed the auto-suggest unless someone types “Ballymascanlon hotel i” or “Ballymascanlon Hotel r.” A simple search for the hotel does not reveal any mention of being in receivership and so it appears the hotel has forced Google to take their concerns seriously. We have had similar interactions with Google on behalf of clients and found them to be equally dismissive. Hopefully, Google will now take such genuine requests seriously and prevent people having to go to the court steps in order to be taken seriously.




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