Google will go to court tomorrow in a bid to convince a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that challenges the core of the company's business: its methods for indexing and ranking web pages.
In March, Google was sued by KinderStart.com, which alleges it suffered crippling financial harm after its website got dropped from the search engine's index.
The case reflects the enormous impact of search engines on the business world at large. It has become crucial for many businesses to rank well in search results. An entire industry has sprouted up to serve this 'search engine optimisation' need.
As the world's most popular search engine, Google wields the strongest influence. Having a website that ranks low or disappears altogether from the Google index can have devastating effects on a company. This is what KinderStart.com alleges happened to it.
"It's a very important case for many reasons. Everyone uses search engines, so the question is: are you seeing true and faithful results?" said Gregory Yu, KinderStart.com's lawyer.
"Google shouldn't have completely free range to be able to remove sites or hit them with a zero PageRank," he added, referring to the patented technology at the heart of Google's algorithmic ranking.
KinderStart.com is charging Google, among other things, with violating its right to free speech; illegally using a monopoly position to harm competitors; engaging in unfair practices and competition; committing defamation and libel; and violating the Federal Communications Act. The web publisher seeks a class action certification for the lawsuit, damages and injunctive relief, among other things.