Swedish Language Council battles with Google over definition of "ungoogleable"


By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

March 27, 2013 | 2 min read

The Swedish Language Council has accused Google of trying to ‘control the language’ after the search engine complained about the given definition of the world "ungoogleable".

In its annual list of new words used by the public but not in the dictionary, unveiled in December 2012, the Swedish Language Council had included "ogooglebar" (ungoogleable) with the definition of something "that cannot be found on the Web with a search engine".

However, it is reported that Google then got in touch with the agency, asking for the definition to mention the fact that it specifically refers to Google searches, as well as a disclaimer saying Google is a registered trademark.

Instead of complying, the council has removed the word from the list.

Ann Cederberg, head of the council, said: "If we want to have ogooglebar in the language, then we'll use the word and it's our use that gives it meaning - not a multinational company exerting pressure. Speech must be free!

"It would go against our principles, and the principles of language. Google has forgotten one thing: language development doesn't care about brand protection."

Google has said that it must take routine steps to protect its trademark.


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