Google, online search and consumer confusion in Australia

Scardamaglia, Amanda & Daly, Angela (2016) Google, online search and consumer confusion in Australia. International Journal of Law and Information Technology, 24(3), pp. 203-228.

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The legality of the operation of Google’s search engine, and its liability as an Internet intermediary, has been tested in various jurisdictions on various grounds. In Australia, there was an ultimately unsuccessful case against Google under the Australian Consumer Law relating to how it presents results from its search engine. Despite this failed claim, several complex issues were not adequately addressed in the case including whether Google sufficiently distinguishes between the different parts of its search results page, so as not to mislead or deceive consumers. This article seeks to address this question of consumer confusion by drawing on empirical survey evidence of Australian consumers’ understanding of Google’s search results layout. This evidence, the first of its kind in Australia, indicates some level of consumer confusion. The implications for future legal proceedings in against Google in Australia and in other jurisdictions are discussed.

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ID Code: 95072
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: intermediary liability, Google, consumer confusion, empirical evidence, cyberlaw, trademarks
DOI: 10.1093/ijlit/eaw004
ISSN: 1464-3693
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Oxford University Press
Copyright Statement: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in International Journal of Law and Information Technology following peer review. The version of record Int J Law Info Tech (Autumn 2016) 24 (3): 203-228 is available online at:
Deposited On: 20 Apr 2016 22:42
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2016 17:25

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