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Posting to Autocat

Concerning Google, see what happened in Sweden where Google threatened to sue over the word “ogooglebar” (i.e. “ungoogleable”) They could have changed their definition but decided instead to delete the word.

I remember some of the first webpages I put up where I used the word “metadata” and found myself threatened by The Metadata Company and said I must use “meta-data” instead.

I ignored it, just as I think people should ignore lots of these things in normal parlance. A company has to show that your use of a word has injured them or some fraud has taken place. So, if I had put up a fake web page and said that it had some official relationship to The Metadata Company, that would be one thing, just as Gucci can claim that somebody who sells fake Gucci bags harms their sales, but someone saying that they need a kleenex, or they want to xerox something does not harm them at all.

Google’s claim of “ungoogleable” (which means that you cannot find something through search engines) was rather strange. The Swedish authorities originally defined it as: “[Something] that you can’t find on the web with the use of a search engine.”

But Google wanted that definition changed. “The search engine giant wanted the Swedish organisation to specify that the word only related to searches made using Google – and not those made using their rival’s products.” As I said, strange. And the Swedish Language Council decided not to go to court and not to change the definition to make Google happy, but delete the word. Shades of 1984.

The head of the Swedish organization said, “If we want to have ‘ogooglebar’ in the language, then we’ll use the word and it’s our use that gives it meaning – not a multinational company exerting pressure. Speech must be free!”.

Sometimes you have to live life on the edge and laugh in the face of danger, like Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mount Everest! 🙂

Otherwise everyone is just caving in to censorship.