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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

trademark spat - word 'ungoogleable' removed from Swedish


Google……....the most popular word that we come across every day.

Google Inc. is an American multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products. These include search,cloud computing, software and online advertising technologies. Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Together they own about 16 percent of its stake. They incorporated Google as a privately held company on September 4, 1998.  The name ‘Google’ reportedly emanated from a misspelling of the word "googol", the number one followed by one hundred zeros, which was picked to signify that the search engine’s capability  to provide large quantities of information for people.[

‘Thuppakki’ is a Vijay film released in 2012, directed by A. R. Murugadoss.  It has a song ‘google google panni pathen’ [I tried googling !]

What is Google ? ~ a noun or a verb and what meaning would it give ……. There are many nouns describing some object or a thing, which have to mean the verb –the act also.  Xerox is a machine, to Xerox is understood to mean taking a photocopy of a paper. Phone is a thing, to phone somebody does mean calling somebody.

That way – Google representing Googe Inc would as a verb mean : using an Internet search engine [www.google.com] for searching something…………. Extending the same logic : ‘googleable’ : Something that is able to be found on the popular Internet search engine Google. ‘googleability’ means likelihood of being found ! by an internet search engine, particularly that of google ~ and don’t be surprised by further extentions including ‘ungoogleable’….. because all these are accepted English words now !

BBC now reports that the word "ungoogleable" has been removed from a list of new Swedish words after a trademark spat. But it raises the question of what can and can't be found with a search engine. The idea that something can't be found online is strange enough to have spawned its own adjective. The word "ungoogleable" is in the headlines after a dispute between the search engine giant and Sweden's language watchdog.

The Language Council of Sweden wanted to include "ungoogleable" - or "ogooglebar" - in its annual list of new Swedish words. But it defined the term as something that cannot be found with any search engine. Google wanted the Swedish translation to be changed to refer only to Google searches, and the Council opted to remove the word altogether to avoid a lengthy legal battle.

The spat raises the question of just what "ungoogleable" means. Or more specifically, are some things still impossible to find with a search engine? And if so, is it a deliberate strategy? To be ungoogleable might be a blessing or a curse.

A firm that chooses to call itself 367 may be shooting itself in the foot - people searching online will probably encounter a lot of bus routes before they get to the company. It's a similar story for an academic with a common name trying to promote research. Being called Mark Smith, for instance, might bring up thousands of other Mark Smiths online. But others may actively seek to be ungoogleable. The internet, unlike humans, has an almost flawless memory. That is why it's so useful. But it can also be embarrassing. Imagine the person who has been photographed in a compromising position at university and had the picture posted online. What happens when they try to get a job as a lawyer? For this very reason there are firms that promise to move people down search-engine lists.

Ungoogleability increasingly means privacy, says Cameron Hulett, executive director of digital marketing company Undertone. "There are firms managing people's online reputations. Ungoogleable is the extreme form - you are not just managing it you are removing it altogether," he says. Then there are online networks that act like auction sites for people trading in drugs, erotica and other forbidden items.Websites such as these use software to create anonymous networks. And with questionable sites that are accessible, a search engine might decide to withhold access to users.

But the desire to be ungoogleable goes far wider than that. Prof Ralph Schroeder, from the Oxford Internet Institute, points to democracy activists in China who may need to operate an anonymous website to escape a crackdown on their activities. For some, being ungoogleable is about being unknowable. It's about preserving one's mystique.

As one search engine consultant puts  even supposedly ungoogleable things can usually be found. Most people use Google in haste. But a bit of thinking can often turn up the correct result. For some, it seems, being ungoogleable is an unfortunate state of affairs. For others, the ignorance of Google's algorithms is bliss.

Have you tried ‘googling’ your Name, your Organisation, your Street etc., and found the results ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Mar 2013
‘ungoogleable’ largely reproduced from BBC

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