It's a truly wonderful thing to see giant, Google, lose one (or 2 in this case). From a designer's and SEO's point of view, Google is like living in olden days when one felt the need to "please the gods". With over 60-70% of search traffic, getting it wrong with Google is bad for business. Because of their economic situation, they have huge power to do pretty much whatever they feel like - even if it's wrong, who can afford to sue them?
However, 2 recent court cases have brought at least the glimmer of a smile to the "Google haters". First in Europe, and now Japan. Courts from both areas have ordered Google to "forget" individuals pasts - including debts, convictions and other "embarrassing" data under Europe's and Japan's tough anti-defamation legislation.
This all seems wondeful, and, for the individuals concerned, it probably is. However, when we view the stats on link removal, Google proudly claims it's removed more than 200,000 from it's search results. This after reviewing some 145,000 requests covering nearly half a million links. Do a search on almost any topic and you'll see page results of millions... is 200k really something to trumpet about? Especially when it's less than half the removals requested...
The requests for "online polishing" have been coming in at the rate of about 1000 a day since May when the Eurpoean court handed down its ruling. However, experts say we in the US are unlikely to benefit despite the double precedent. It's a logisitcal nightmare for one thing, and, secondly, already some groups are condemning the rulings as anti-freedom of speech.