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Sweden: ‘Ungoogleable’ removed from new words list due to Google protests


The Google logo at the company's Mountainview, California headquarters.


Kimohiro Hoshino

The Language Council of Sweden has removed the word “ogooglebar” – equivalent to “ungoogleable” in English – from its list of new Swedish words because Google objected to the council’s definition.

The council defined the word as something "which cannot be found on the Internet with the use of a search engine,” Agence-France Presse reported.

Google’s lawyers demanded the council change the definition to mean something that cannot be found on the Internet using Google, and insisted it add a disclaimer that notes that Google is a trademark, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Rather than give in to the US company’s demands, the council decided to eject the word from the Swedish language altogether.

"We have neither the time nor the desire to engage in the long, drawn-out process Google is trying to initiate. Neither do we want to compromise and change the definition of 'ogooglebar' to the one the company wants," Ann Cederberg, head of the Language Council, said, according to AFP. "That would go against our principles, and the principles of language."

She added: "Google has forgotten one thing: language development doesn't care about the protection of trademarks.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is simply doing what it has to do to protect its trademark. If use of “google” as a verb becomes so common that it no longer refers to Google’s search engine alone, the company could lose its rights to its name.

That’s what happened to trademarks like “escalator,” “aspirin” and “yo-yo,” the Wall Street Journal noted.

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