Google forces Sweden to remove ‘ungoogleable’ from list of new Swedish words

2013-03-27_000503

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.

[via BBC]

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7 comments

  1. Mike

    As noted in the article, needed to be done by Google, to protect its trademark rights in its Google trademark. Otherwise, the trademark could go the way of “escalator,” originally a trademark owned by the Otis company and subsequently lost as a generic term for moving stairs.

  2. Seamus McSeamus

    See, Google, this is why some people don’t like you. It isn’t enough that you are a monopoly, but now you’re trying to control language too? And why don’t you ask people to stop saying “Google it”?

    Careful, or Google will come to mean “big cry baby”.

  3. Patrick

    Funny, downright mad or dangerous?…
    Some of Google’s pr-people or trademarklawyers must have been abducted by aliens and undergone thorough “googlewashing” or been “googlefied”?.
    Or has their biological clock permenantly been set to “April Fool’s Day” = “googledayed”? Who’ll say? I don’t know if I have to feel indignant or just “mind-begoogled”? — On
    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/ogooglebar-and-14-other-swedish-words-we-should-incorporate-into-english-immediately/274383/ I find::3) Ogooglebar, adj.
    Definition: Literally meaning “ungoogleable,” the term is used to describe someone or something that doesn’t show up in Google results.
    Used in an English sentence: “I’m going on a date tonight, but he’s totally ogooglebar! What are the odds he’s an axe murderer?” On the same page there is 13) “Åsiktstaliban, n.
    Definition: Literally “opinion Taliban,” the term refers to someone or a group of someones who tolerate only one opinion on a given issue. (In translation, might also refer more generally to “trolls.”) Used in an English sentence: “Word to the wise: Don’t read the comments right now. They’re full of Åsiktstaliban.” I also like 12) “Flipperförälder” in some contexts. IMHO Google should not play “Flipperförälder” to anyone, least of all to a people’s language… — I’d like to see a very long list of new words containing “google” in some way or another. As Google is taking over the universe (turning it into the (googleverse”), there should be room enough for inspiraton ;-)
    —- “Grooglz” from Pat. —- BTW:The Swedes must be a strange lot too, giving in to this “sottise” (= French for “nonsense, silly thing, foolishness”.

  4. spredo

    To be “smart”, Google is not very smart.

    This is like Hoover announcing “we do not like the word “hoovering” being used when using non-hoover machines to vacuum anything”

  5. Urban

    Googles Ungoogleable

    The Language Council of Sweden does not make any rules for the Swedish language – the list simply reflects how the words are used. I wonder how the good people at the Google’s inquisition are going to control the heretics from using “ungoogleable” in an improper way.