Ogooglebar or “ungoogleable”

When activities in Sweden gains a global interest I must of course comment on it so here goes.

In Sweden we have something called “Språkrådet” (Language council of Sweden). Each year they put together a list of new words in the Swedish language and 2012 contained the word “ogooglebar”. O is used as a prefix similar to non/not/un, google is of course Google and bar is a suffix roughly translating to able or doable. Which gives us, ogooglebar=ungoogleable or as the word is used, describing something as non-searchable. Or at least without any results.

Problem is that the language council defined that a search engine wouldn’t find any results for such a term. Key here is “search engine”, not specifically Google. It doesn’t seem like Google had any problems with the actual word (why would they?) but the definition. Reason is fairly simple if I understand basic trademark legislation right.

If Google becomes synonymous with search engine, other companies may use Google as a term, even in marketing. We’ve seen this before with Xerox, Aspirin and many other things/brands. That’s why…out comes the lawyers.

Funny thing though… The language council figured that they have better things to do and removed the word instead of changing the definition in accordance with a company’s wishes. The result is world wide spread of the word and story. Oopsie.


Lesson for Google: People may frown at the use of lawyers and find your actions a bit silly, even if your request isn’t that strange to begin with.