Google is used for many different things by people all around the world, but now it has caused great mirth among citizens of Pakistan thanks to a search result involving neighbor India.
At a time of great tension between the two neighbors, Pakistani internet users have found that Google has a peculiar opinion about their eastern neighbor, India. Users have found that entering “Namak Haram country” into Google brings up the Indian flag. Namak Haram means disloyal in English.
Twitter users react to ‘Namak Haram’ search results
Testing the rumor shows that it is true. Twitter users have been enthusiastically posting their reactions to the search term online. User @Proud_Khaaki wrote: “Just Google “Namak haram country” And see what it shows you. This is hilariously astonishing.”
@Ma_Ensari wrote: “Its my phone’s screenshot ? 100% true…. No photoshop needed#NamakHaraam #India”
The news made for great hilarity in Pakistan, although it was undoubtedly less popular in India. At the same time, users were intrigued to find out which country was “Namak Halaal” according to Google. Namak Halaal means loyal in English.
Testing reveals that India is both Namak Haram and Namak Halaal in Google’s mind. But what is the explanation for this curiosity?
India’s tricolour shows up thanks to Bollywood movies
As it turns out, if you search a movie title and country of origin in Google you will sometimes be shown the flag of the country where the film was made. Both Namak Haram and Namak Halaal are famous Bollywood movies made in India.
This is not the first time that Google has come up with results that could be seen as insulting in India. However this time around the baiting of Indians by Pakistani internet users comes at a time of great sensitivity. Just last week 18 Indian soldiers were killed in a militant attack in Indian-held Kashmir, and New Delhi has blamed Pakistan for masterminding the assault.
The attack came after months of anti-India protests in Pakistan. More than 80 people have lost their lives in clashes between protesters and Indian security forces, with most of them protesters.
As certain elements call for war, the online controversy could spark further outrage among Indian nationalists. Of course if you look at the full story, it should just be a bit of fun.
Search giant Google has caused controversy in India before
However some people may point out that Google has previously featured current Indian prime minister Narendra Modi among the world’s most stupid prime ministers. The search giant later apologized for the gaff.
There was further controversy when some users performed an image search for the top 10 criminals in India. Among the results appeared photos of Modi. Google was forced to apologize once again for any misunderstanding.
“These results trouble us and are not reflective of the opinions of Google. Sometimes, the way images are described on the Internet can yield surprising results to specific queries,” said a company spokesperson. “We apologize for any confusion or misunderstanding this has caused. We’re continually working to improve our algorithms to prevent unexpected results like this.”
While these sorts of episodes provide plenty of entertainment for people in Pakistan and around the world, they are a source of great annoyance for Indians. No one wants their country to be labeled as “Namak Haram,” let alone at a time when the geopolitical situation is becoming steadily more complicated.