Google Made Sweden Delete the Word ‘Ungoogleable’ from Its Language

Every December, the Swedish Language Council (a government-funded group that regulates the Swedish language) releases a list of new words that have entered everyday speech but do not appear in any dictionary.

Last year, the list included words like emoji, referring to the picture emoticons, and kramtjuv, translated as "hug thief," meaning a pickpocket who hugs a person in order to mug them.

It also included the word ogooglebar the Swedish equivalent of "ungoogleable."

The Council defined the "ungoogleable" as something "that cannot be found on the Web with a search engine."

Google didn't like that.

Google wanted the definition to be amended to, roughly: something that cannot be found on the Web with the search engine Google, a registered trademark of Google, Inc., although how could something ever not be found via Google™, Google® can find anything; for more information, Google© "Google™," a copyright of Google®.

In addition to requesting that the definition of ogooglebar be amended to refer to Google searches specifically, the company also demanded that the Swedish Language Council add a disclaimer to the bottom of their little word list PDF explaining that "Google" is a registered trademark.

So the Swedish Language Council was like "fuck that," and deleted the word from their list entirely. Like ogooglebar never happened.

In a statement on the organization's website, council head Ann Cederberg wrote that the Counil had "neither the time nor the inclination to pursue" a lengthy court battle with Google, which contacted her via email in December shortly after the list went public, citing brand infringement.

She added that "ungoogleable" would continue to exist unofficially in Swedish with whatever meaning people wanted it to have because "language development doesn't care about brand protection."

It's important to remember here that the annual new word list is a fun December timekiller designed to give people something to talk about during the end-of-the-year news drought. So, while Google does have a right to defend their brand, this freakout is sort of like taking a "#1 Dad" mug way too seriously; like Michael Jackson pulling a decoration off his birthday cake and calling it "the Artist of the Millennium award." The list not a legally binding official thing.

According to the Telegraph, a spokesman for Google responded to the Council's statement with the following:

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.

Also with being dicks.

[Telegraph // Image via Google]