Google asks Swedish Language Council to remove 'ogooglebar' – or ungoogleable, in English – from its list of new 2012 words.
Late last year, the Swedish Language Council published a report of words that had entered the Swedish lexicon in 2012. Among them was ogooglebar – ungoogleable, in English. This did not please Google. In fact, according to the Council (you'll need to enable Google Translate, unless you speak Swedish), Google promptly wrote representatives for the organization, and asked them to remove the word.
The Council duly fired back – "we decide together which words should be and how they are defined, used and spelled," reads a defiant post on the Council website – and the ensuring furor has made Ungoogleable Gate front page news even in the US. So what's Google's problem? Well, to put it simply, Google is worried that if everyone starts using the word "google" as a lower-case verb or noun, it will dilute the name.
As John C. Dvorak of PC Mag suggests today, an analogue here is Kleenex, which is a brand name, but which is often used to describe all tissue. (Other examples: Band-Aid or Xerox.) In fact, a few years ago, Kleenex embarked on its own campaign to make sure Kleenex is referred to correctly in the media. In an advertisement that still appears – in a slightly different form – in the Columbia Journalism Review, Kleenex requested that the product always be identified as a trademarked entity.