Google gets ungoogleable off Sweden's new word list

By Sean Fanning
BBC News

Image caption,
Google emailed the Language Council of Sweden

Objections from Google have forced the removal of the word "ungoogleable" from a list of new Swedish words, the Language Council of Sweden says.

The language watchdog defines "ungoogleable", or "ogooglebar" in Swedish, as something that cannot be found with any search engine.

But Google wanted the meaning to relate only to Google searches, according to the council.

Google responded by saying it was protecting its trademark.

Every year, the language watchdog publishes its top 10 new words which have become popular in Sweden to show how society and language are changing.

Council head Ann Cederberg told the BBC she received an email from Google soon after publication of the list in December 2012, citing brand protection.

It called for changes to the Language Council of Sweden's definition and asked for a 'disclaimer' stressing that Google is a trademark.

The council, worried at the prospect of a lengthy legal battle and balking at the idea of changing the word's definition, removed it from the list.

"I don't want to be influenced by a company, but this was the only way to solve the problem," Ms Cederberg told the BBC.

"We could not go to court. The only way was to remove the word from the list and tell the world what happened."

A statement on the Language Council of Sweden's website, asks: "Who decides language? We do, language users. We decide together which words should be and how they are defined, used and spelled."

In response, a Google spokesperson told the BBC: "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."

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