Every year the Language Council of Sweden publishes a list of top ten new words popularly used in Sweden. The latest list, published December 2012, included the word ‘ungoogleable’ (‘ogooglebar’ in Swedish), meaning something that cannot be found via a search engine. Google, apparently, doesn’t like the word and has protested to the council, which has forced removal of the word from the list.
Google doesn’t have an issue with the word itself but rather what it means. Google wants the word to mean something that cannot be found on Google Search specifically — not something that cannot be found on a search engine. According to Google, it has taken this step to protect its trademark:
“While Google, like many businesses, takes routine steps to protect our trademark, we are pleased that users connect the Google name with great search results.”
The idea here is Google does not want the ‘google’ in ‘ungoogleable’ to be associated with other search engines like Bing and Yahoo. If you ask me, this is only a natural step taken by Google which any corporation would take; however, it is illogical to try to control words of a language.
Google had asked the council to redefine the word and include a disclaimer proclaiming Google’s trademark but the council refused; instead, the council decided to simply drop the word from the list. However, Swedes still plan on using the word.