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Nothing is ungoogleable in Sweden
March 26, 2013 10:47 AM   Subscribe

The Language Council of Sweden has been the semi-official arbiter of the Swedish language since World War II. It monitors "the development of spoken and written Swedish" and publishes a list of new words each year to ensure consistency of spelling and make sure that Swedish is a "complete language, i.e. [is] possible to use in all areas of society." This year, for the first time, the Council has taken a word off the list: ogooglebar, which literally meant "ungoogleable" but was defined as "a thing or person that does not produce relevant results when typed into a search engine."

Google objected to the word's official definition, saying that it would rather the word mean anything that couldn't be found on Google specifically (possibly trying not to open itself up to the threat of genericization). The Council decided not to bother with the word instead, striking ogooglebar from the list.
posted by Etrigan (43 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Who wants to join me for drinks at the Ogooglebar?
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:49 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


At this point I just want to whack Eric Schmidt and Larry Page across the nose with a rolled-up newspaper, over and over.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:50 AM on March 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Who wants to join me for drinks at the Ogooglebar?

I'd love to, but I can't figure out where it is.
posted by Etrigan at 10:52 AM on March 26, 2013 [21 favorites]


This perfectly illustrates the Streisand Effect: ogooglebar will now always be a word, in many more languages than just Swedish, and many many people will know what it means.
posted by chavenet at 10:55 AM on March 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Gene Weingarten calls it a googlenope.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:55 AM on March 26, 2013


I'm not sure how I feel about it, honestly - we haven't enshrined "frisbee" and "kleenex" as official words for disc and tissue, have we? So there's an ounce of sense in Google's resistance of "googling" and its various mutations being actually entered in dictionaries.

On another note, how much better it sounds in Swedish! Googleable, what a dog of a word. But googlebar? Not bad.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:55 AM on March 26, 2013


This is absolutely unfuckinggooglable.
posted by goethean at 10:56 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


At this point I just want to whack Eric Schmidt and Larry Page across the nose with a rolled-up newspaper, over and over.

I know it's cool to ding Google these days, but that is a textbook case of trademark dilution. Xerox, Kleenex, Polaroid, LEGO, and so on have all had to wage similar campaigns to avoid losing exclusive rights to their own names for the reasons Etrigan noted.

It's the price of success -- there's a reason Sweden wasn't considering "Unbingable."
posted by verb at 10:56 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, but how many of them went after the dictionary?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:57 AM on March 26, 2013


This perfectly illustrates the Streisand Effect: ogooglebar will now always be a word, in many more languages than just Swedish, and many many people will know what it means.

That doesn't matter though, as all they have to do is to be seen to try and protect the brand and no-one else **cough Microsoft cough** can claim lower-case 'google' is the generic term.
posted by StephenF at 10:58 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Du sökte på "bork" och fick 0 träffar.

You searched for " bork "and got 0 results.

:(
posted by desjardins at 10:58 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Xerox, Kleenex, Polaroid, LEGO, and so on have all had to wage similar campaigns to avoid losing exclusive rights to their own names for the reasons Etrigan noted.

One thing that surprised me when I was looking up "genericization" was that I always thought the same thing had happened to Aspirin, but in fact, the reason Bayer lost that trademark is because the Treaty of Versailles specifically took it away from them in the Entente countries (France, Russia, the UK and the US). Same with Heroin.
posted by Etrigan at 11:03 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Etrigan: "Bayer lost that trademark is because the Treaty of Versailles specifically took it away from them in the Entente countries (France, Russia, the UK and the US). Same with Heroin."

So WWII was fought over painkillers?
posted by chavenet at 11:08 AM on March 26, 2013


I tried to install ogooglebar, but it kept crashing IE6.
posted by TedW at 11:13 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now I wonder: is Google pronounced in Dutch with those dreadful Dutch g's?
posted by ocschwar at 11:22 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm reallllly hoping that the German for "cannot be found using Bing search" is "ungebingbar".
posted by benito.strauss at 11:26 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, it's pronounced as in English but generally with a shorter first vowel and with the Gs tending towards /k/ in some speakers.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:26 AM on March 26, 2013


OGOOGLEBAR sounds like an IKEA dining-room table concept: A plexiglass sheet suspended from the ceiling by invisible fishing line, with inflatable exercise balls covered in dyed hacky-sack material for chairs.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:26 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I call dibs on using this for a band name.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:27 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dreadful Dutch gs? You mean awesome Dutch gs. Too bad they aren't used for google.
posted by medusa at 11:28 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


On another note, how much better it sounds in Swedish!

Almost everything sounds better in Swedish--they have such great words! Snart! Sjuk! Trollkarl! Poang! Nojd! Snabbt! Å!

It's endlessly entertaining.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:30 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Snart is a word in English too.

Well okay not really, but still.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:34 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


GOOGLE OGOOGLEBAR.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:37 AM on March 26, 2013


O Googlebar! My Googlebar!
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:42 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


there's a reason Sweden wasn't considering "Unbingable."

I do my best to keep my browser unbingable, thankyouverymuch.
posted by straight at 11:59 AM on March 26, 2013


This really hoovers.
posted by DreamerFi at 12:03 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


chavenet: "This perfectly illustrates the Streisand Effect: ogooglebar will now always be a word, in many more languages than just Swedish, and many many people will know what it means."

Maybe that has already started:

google.se -> ogooglebar:
Ungefär 292 000 resultat (0,16 sekunder)

google.com -> ogooglebar:
About 337,000 results (0.23 seconds)
posted by double block and bleed at 12:09 PM on March 26, 2013


Is "a huff" a legal term of art in Sweden or is this whole story a puff piece?

Whatever it takes to gets some PR for the umpteenth iteration of "new words of the year", I suppose.

The quote "we're removing the word today and stating our displeasure with Google's attempt to control the language" is ironic coming from a language advocacy group. The language will remain utterly uncontrolled by both Google and the Swedish Language Council.
posted by Wood at 12:17 PM on March 26, 2013


we haven't enshrined "frisbee" and "kleenex" as official words for disc and tissue, have we?
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may be done to confirm the location and seriousness of a herniated frisbee or to look for another condition, such as an infection or tumor. An MRI provides detailed images of the soft kleenex of the spine, such as the muscles, tendons, ligaments and frisbees.
posted by XMLicious at 12:20 PM on March 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


Whatever it takes to gets some PR for the umpteenth iteration of "new words of the year", I suppose.

The Language Council doesn't sell anything or have any particular need for PR. They're a government body that seeks not only to publish a "new words of the year" book, but also to ensure that speakers of minority languages (including sign language) are protected. Despite our understandable scoffing over trying to "control" a language, they're doing decent work and deserve better than to be dismissed by those of us whose invisible knapsacks are labeled in English at this moment in time.
posted by Etrigan at 12:37 PM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


.

Not even a eugoogly for "ogooglebar"?
posted by CyberSlug Labs at 12:40 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't an ogooglebar something a ogooglebarizer would say at a funeral?
posted by panboi at 12:44 PM on March 26, 2013


I call dibs.
posted by ogooglebar at 12:51 PM on March 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, Google does not care about the popularity/awareness of the word. It has to be seen putting up a spirited defence of its trademarks and that is all there is to it.
posted by asra at 1:02 PM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, Oprah and Larry Page walk into a bar...
posted by slogger at 1:18 PM on March 26, 2013


"This perfectly illustrates the Streisand Effect: ogooglebar will now always be a word, in many more languages than just Swedish, and many many people will know what it means."

Google will, if anything, be benefiting from the Streisand effect here as its brand gets more cemented without the legal hassle of its brand being officially cemented. Google wins here all around.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:33 PM on March 26, 2013


Blasdelb: "as its brand gets more cemented without the legal hassle of its brand being officially cemented"

Except that this "unofficial cementing" is just what Google is fighting against, as per the idea of genericizing & words like kleenex, hoover, frisbee &c as mentioned above.
posted by chavenet at 3:01 PM on March 26, 2013


Ogooglebar! O mores!
posted by ogooglebar at 3:59 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


as its brand gets more cemented without the legal hassle of its brand being officially cemented

Except that this "unofficial cementing" is just what Google is fighting against, as per the idea of genericizing & words like kleenex, hoover, frisbee &c as mentioned above.


Merely making the attempt to fight genericizing is sufficient to fight it. This is indeed a win all around for Google.
posted by Etrigan at 4:34 PM on March 26, 2013


I know there's no limit to the number of things I can care about, but I just can't muster it here. Sorry. Thanks for all the silly-sounding Swedish words, though.
posted by axiom at 8:47 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


That Gene Weingarten link is hilarious.
posted by Grandysaur at 9:21 PM on March 26, 2013


Gene Weingarten calls it a googlenope: I'm fixin' to solve me the Shimura-Taniyama conjecture.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:34 PM on March 26, 2013


In the interest of accurate punning, please note that the pronunciation is oo-googlebar.
posted by alexei at 12:18 AM on March 27, 2013


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