Google And Sweden Fight Over ‘Ungoogleable’

on March 26 2013 2:44 PM
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Google has become synonymous with Internet searches as has the term “ungoogleable,” meaning something that cannot be found on the Internet. The Swedish Language Council created their own term for “not being able to find something using an Internet search engine,” but Google was unhappy with their definition, and now the company and country are fighting over a word.

The Swedish Language Council, which acts as a regulatory body that oversees the Swedish language, included “ogooglebar” among their 2012 list of words that, while they don’t appear in the Swedish dictionary, are commonly used in the language, reports the Associated Press.

Google does not have an issue with Swedes saying something is “ungoogleable” or “ogooglebar” but does raise issue with the word’s definition. According to AP, Google wanted the definition to say “ogooglebar” refers to when one cannot find something using a Google search and to add a disclaimer within the definition saying Google is a registered trademark.

The Swedish Language Council announced they will remove “ogooglebar” from its list of words in a statement on Tuesday and noted its “displeasure with Google's attempt to control the language.” According to the council, “No one can define words which must be in the language or languages ​​of the users' definition of a word.”

Instead of any legal wrangling, the Swedish Language Council decided to drop “ogooglebar” from its official list of words, although Swedes will still use it in their daily conversations. Ann Cederberg, director of the Swedish Language Council, said language should be decided by users and not by a company.

Other such words, like Band-Aid or Xerox, have colloquially replaced bandages and photocopies, are noted as trademarked in English dictionaries, but their definitions do not include disclaimers or the specificity that Google wanted with “ogooglebar.”

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