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Google Sued Over PageRank

WebProNews
Staff Writer
Published: 2004-03-22

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A man in Southern California is irate over the results of "Googling" his name. Mark Maughan, certified public accountant of the Brown & Maughan firm, believes the search results for "Mark Maughan" contained "alarming, false, misleading and injurious results."

Maughan discovered that Google's results about him and his company made false claims that, according to NBC4News, "the search results falsely represent that plaintiffs Maughan and/or Brown & Maughan have been disciplined for gross negligence, for failing to timely submit a client's claim for refund of overpayment of taxes, and for practicing as a CPA without a permit."

Plaintiff attorney John A. Girardi believes that Google's PageRank system is what caused this misinformation. In the suit, Giradi states that Google PageRank "reformats information obtained from accurate sources, resulting in changing of the context in which information is presented."

While it's true that Google results pages alter the context of information, PageRank does not actually determine search result descriptions.

The attorney stated that a literal reprint would be suitable, but that the reformat gives misinformation. He is asking that Google discontinue using PageRank. Girardi is asking for unspecified monetary damages, as well.

Also named in the lawsuit are Yahoo, AOL, and Time Warner.

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