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Google is just delighted with this extra-polite search query by a British grandmother

A computer user poses in front of a Google search page in this photo illustration taken in Brussels May 30, 2014. Google has taken the first steps to meet a European ruling that citizens can have objectionable links removed from Internet search results, a ruling that pleased privacy campaigners but raised fears that the right can be abused to hide negative information. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir (BELGIUM - Tags: POLITICS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) - RTR3RK9T
Reuters/Francois Lenoir
It’s just manners.
  • Anne Quito
By Anne Quito

Design and architecture reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Good manners never fail—even on automated search engines.

On June 9, an 86-year-old UK woman named May Ashworth typed a simple Google query:

“Please translate these roman numerals mcmxcviii thank you.”

The polite request quickly went viral, after Ashworth’s 25-year-old grandson Ben Jonson tweeted a picture of her laptop screen.

Charmed by her internet manners, Twitter users have shared Jonson’s tweet over 31,000 times as of writing. Jonson later told the BBC that his grandmother thought a human might be responding to requests on the search engine.

Google gave Ashworth what she was looking for within a fraction of a second: MCMXCVIII is 1998. But six days later, a special human-generated message arrived for her too.

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