• Sweden edition
 
Sweden axes new word after Google intervenes

Sweden axes new word after Google intervenes

Published: 26 Mar 2013 10:21 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Mar 2013 11:53 GMT+01:00

In December, the council unveiled its customary annual list of new Swedish words. Among the words that Swedes had begun using in 2012 was "ogooglebar" ('ungoogleable').

The California-based multinational soon got into a huff, asking the council to amend its definition. But the language experts refused to bow down to the demands, instead choosing a third option - removing the term altogether.

"Instead, we're removing the word today and stating our displeasure with Google's attempt to control the language," Language Council head Ann Cederberg said in a statement.

The word was to be used to describe something "that you can't find on the web with the use of a search engine", according to the Language Council.

SEE ALSO: Top ten new Swedish words of 2012

However, Google was less than thrilled that a word based on its name had been highlighted by Sweden's "official language cultivation body".

Google wanted the council to specify that the word's definition only covered searches performed using Google, and not searches involving other search engines.

SEE ALSO: Ten Swedish words you won’t find in English

The move marks the first time the Language Council has removed a word from its annual list, but the Swedish wordsmiths don't think the word's removal means it should be removed from the language itself.

"If we want to have ogooglebar in the language, then we'll use the word and it's our use that gives it meaning - not a multinational company exerting pressure. Speech must be free!" Cederberg said.

According to Cederberg, the Language Council could have compromised with Google's requests, but decided to instead spark a debate.

"It would go against our principles, and the principles of language. Google has forgotten one thing: language development doesn't care about brand protection."

The Local/dl

Follow The Local on Twitter

Your comments about this article

09:19 March 26, 2013 by inertia666
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:26 March 26, 2013 by hipersons1
I can see Google's point with this even though it seems ridiculous on the outset. It comes down to trademark/copyright law. It's the same reason why Xerox ran adverts in the 80s to encourage people to call it a 'photocopy' instead of a 'Xerox' even if it comes from a machine made by Xerox. When a trademarked name becomes a common word even for similar services/product not produced by the company that holds the particular trademark, it lessens the legal strength of that trademark.
09:52 March 26, 2013 by Opinionfool
Thank god that English has no equivalent of toadying language control freaks. We google information all the time. Presumably the only thing that is ungoogleable with Google (other search engines available) is any criticism of Google and their attempts to control language as they are trying to control the world web site.
10:03 March 26, 2013 by Logic_and_Reason
In case you ever questioned the notion that corporations rule the world, when one dictates what a developed nation like Sweden can put in its own language, you know we are all screwed.
12:04 March 26, 2013 by comfreak
I think it's a bit much that Google thinks it's up to them to decide what is a word and what is not. I am pretty sure that they think "googleable" in contrast, is a word, right? So the antonym belongs in the dictionary just as much!

Google, try telling the Oxford English Dictionary to erase the word Google. If you get as much response as a gently raised middle finger, you should be lucky.
12:08 March 26, 2013 by johan rebel
They removed the word to state their displeasure?

Sounds more like a bunch of yellow cowards to me.
14:05 March 26, 2013 by sparc
@johan rebel: Actually I agree with the council that maybe removing was the best choice, all things considered.

A definition constraints the use to a certain set of bounds and allows one to say "You are using this the wrong way". Google could have started a whole issue, trying to indirectly alter the definition even if the council disagreed. For one, google translate is used by a huge amount of people as a dictionary; simply by setting source and target languages the same.

Removing the definition allows the word to exist and evolve naturally without control and definitive influence. No one can dictate its use if there is no formal definition. It means what the majority wants it to be.
15:50 March 26, 2013 by jporinchak
Speaking as a US trademark attorney, I think you Swedes are dilutional.
17:17 March 26, 2013 by Rishonim
Ann Cederberg; Who's your daddy?
20:42 March 26, 2013 by Opinionfool
@comfreak

Glad you suggest the OED. One of the earliest citation to Google as a verb is from ... wait for it ... be patient ... Larry Page! He did that on July 8 1998 in an egroups mailing. Why then if it's good enough for Page shouldn't the rest of the world use it too.
Today's headlines
Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
No truth to Russia's submarine claim: Dutch
A CB90-class fast assault craft at Kullbäling, a small island in Stockholm's archipelago. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

No truth to Russia's submarine claim: Dutch

The Netherlands on Monday denied a Russian claim that a mystery vessel the Swedish military has been looking for could be Dutch. READ  

Perspective: ‘Russian sub’ alert
Why a foreign vessel lurks in Swedish waters
The HMS Stockholm patrols Jungfrufjärden in the Stockholm archipelago on Monday morning. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Why a foreign vessel lurks in Swedish waters

With Sweden engaged in its biggest domestic military operation since the Cold War, The Local spoke to Johan Wiktorin, a fellow at the Swedish Royal Academy of War Sciences, to get insight into what’s going on in the Stockholm archipelago. READ  

Lufthansa Strike
Over 20 Swedish flights hit by Lufthansa strike
Grounded Lufthansa planes. Photo: TT

Over 20 Swedish flights hit by Lufthansa strike

A strike by pilots at German airline Lufthansa will affect over 20 flights in and out of Sweden over the next two days. READ  

National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Photo: Shutterstock

Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars

A dentist in western Sweden is offering free dental care to his town's Roma begging population. READ  

Ebola crisis
Stockholm patient does not have Ebola
Infection clinic at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Stockholm patient does not have Ebola

UPDATED: A patient at a Stockholm hospital was told on Monday morning that he does not have Ebola, after he was forced to spend the night in isolation. READ  

Business & Money
Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts
Photo: TT

Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts

Swedish electrical appliance maker Electrolux reported its third-quarter net profit soared 42 percent to 933 million kronor ($130 million) thanks to a cost-cutting programme started at the end of last year. READ  

National
School photographer fired for homophobic slur
Photo credit: Shutterstock

School photographer fired for homophobic slur

A photographer at a high school in southern Sweden was sacked after he called one of the students a "fag" during a shoot. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
No let-up in search for foreign vessel
Minehunter HMS Koster takes part in the search in the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

No let-up in search for foreign vessel

A hunt for foreign underwater activity near Stockholm entered its fourth day on Monday as Sweden’s armed forces vowed to keep searching “day and night” for what media reports suggest may be a damaged Russian vessel. READ  

Ebola crisis
Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

A male passenger who landed at Stockholm's Arlanda airport has been transferred to an isolation unit amid fears he may be suffering from the Ebola virus. But a specialist was keen to play down concerns. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Pictured: 'suspicious object' off Swedish coast
Photo: Swedish Armed Forces

Pictured: 'suspicious object' off Swedish coast

Sweden’s Armed Forces have said it is likely a foreign power is conducting operations in Swedish waters, and have released pictures of a suspicious object seen in the Stockholm Archipelago. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
National
Sweden deploys troops over underwater threat
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Blog updates

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 

17 October

Editor’s Blog, Oct 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Here’s the whole week of news in just 60 seconds. The most-read story was about a..." READ »

 
 
 
National
A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Lifestyle
Sweden's The Bridge to become 'more Danish'
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
National
What's on in Sweden
National
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' protection
Society
Interview with Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'
Gallery
Stefan Löfven through the years
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

984
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN