How do you say “ungoogleable” in Swedish? You don’t

March 26, 2013
March 26, 2013

Every December, Sweden’s Language Council issues a list of neologisms that have come into popular usage in the past year. The list for 2012 included brony (men who are into “My Little Pony”), nomofob (the fear of being separated from your mobile phone), and ogooglebar, an adjective meaning “something that doesn’t show up in Google search results,” or to anglicize it, “ungoogleable”.

Google did not approve.

According to the Swedes, the men from Mountain View wanted a disclaimer pointing out that Google is a trademark and for the definition to clarify that a term could not be found only on Goodle, not any old search engine.

In a fantastically irate post (link in Swedish) on the Council’s website, its director, Ann Cederberg, wrote that she had “neither the time nor the inclination to pursue the lengthy process that Google is trying to launch” and was instead deleting the word from its list altogether.

That’s hardly going to change things. Adobe has extensive rules prohibiting the use of “photoshop” as a noun, a verb, a possessive, slang or anything with a small “p”. It even has an extensive dos and don’ts list. A sample:

Correct: The image was enhanced using Adobe® Photoshop® software.
Incorrect: The image was photoshopped.

Correct: The image pokes fun at the Senator.
Incorrect: The photoshop pokes fun at the Senator.

Needless to say, nobody has paid the least bit of attention. But Cederberg isn’t happy leaving it at that. She’s hoping Google will eventually popularize the word itself. Anyone who googles “ogooglebar” in the future will find the wording Google wanted to change, she writes, and they will also find news reports and comments about its removal. “That is how the internet world works.”

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