Google Inc (GOOG) Takes Issue with Swedish Term ‘Ungoogleable’


Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) apparently has a problem with a Swedish colloquialism. But really, it’s just the opposite of a common colloquialism in English. How many times have you ever told someone to “Google” something?

This is the epitome of corporate excellence: to have your company name equated with a more generic term. For example, is it a tissue or a Kleenex? Is it a cotton swab or a Q-tip?

Google Inc (GOOG) Takes Issue with Swedish Term ‘Ungoogleable’

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Is it a photocopy or a Xerox? Or is it a Xeroxed copy? Microsoft Word actually accepts “Xeroxed” as a word without indicating that it’s misspelled.

Are you having a soda or a Coke? In some parts of the southern U.S., if you order a “Coke” in a restaurant,” they actually ask you what kind of “Coke” you would like. Pepsi, anyone?

So what if you tell someone to “Google” something and they can’t find anything about it? Is it ungoogleable? The Swedes think so, anyway.

The Associated Press reports that the Language Council of Sweden put the word “ogooglebar,” or “ungoogleable” on its list of words that have not made the Swedish dictionary but that are used in common language. And what definition do you think was provided by the council? “Something that cannot be found on the Web with a search engine.”

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has taken offense to this extension of its name, and now the Swedish Language Council is accusing it of trying to control the language. Google asked the council to make changes to show that the term means specifically to search the Internet using Google. The search giant also wants the council to add a disclaimer, which says the name Google is a registered trademark.

Instead of changing its definition, the council just took if off its list. It also expressed its “displeasure with Google’s attempts to control the language.”

So take that, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).

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