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India’s ‘weird’ language? Google had an answer (and attracted a backlash).


It was a strange, unanswered question. Still, it was on the mind of at least one Google user in India.

What is the country’s “worst” language?

For anyone who recently typed a question into the platform’s search bar, its algorithms produced a fact box confident of the answer: a language called Kannada, spoken by millions of people in the south of India.

Reported that result, many of them were not happy.

Several politicians from the state of Karnataka, where a majority of Kannada speakers live, took to social media this week to register their outrage.

“Legal action will be taken against” @Google To tarnish the image of our beautiful language!” Arvind Limbavali, Karnataka Forestry Minister and member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political party, said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Google on Thursday apologized for the “misunderstanding and hurting someone’s feelings”. It also removed the fact box about Kannada.

But its missteps – and the backlash from Mr. Limbavali and other members of the state’s conservative political niche – had already been picked up Major Indian News Outlets. By Friday, “What’s the ugliest language in the world?” The top results for the search were articles about Google’s apology for not answering it.

This episode illustrates the lack of Fact Box, a function that Google created seven years ago. boxes, known as “Featured Snippets“,” contains information that the Company’s algorithms obtain from third-party sources. They appear above links that typically appear in Google search results.

The company has said that Featured snippets work well, based on statistics and evaluations of the use of paid people to evaluate the quality of its search engine results. But it also acknowledges that they sometimes get the facts wrong – or stray into the realm of opinion.

“Search Isn’t Always Right,” Google India said in apology on Thursday. “Sometimes, the way content is described on the Internet can yield surprising results for specific questions.”

It is putting it lightly.

Earlier this year, a search for why Google was banned from China returned a fact box – retrieved from The Global Times Global, a nationalist state-run newspaper – Noting that Google left the country voluntarily after deciding that Chinese law was “not in line with so-called democratic values”.

Box made no mention of the cyberattack that the company cited as an immediate reason to stop running its search engine in China. Nor did it mention that most Google services are widely blocked from China’s Internet.

Google is also unreliable on the question of whether it is a reliable source of information.

Search “Does Google lie to you?” Produces a fact box with the answer: “Google does not answer questions and therefore does not lie.”

he is from An article in The Australian newspaper Which quoted a businessman who accused the company of stealing content and putting it directly on their site. The article uses quotes in the search query “Does Google ever lie?” as a sarcastic reference to the first result.

Kannada, the language Google’s Fact Box called the ugliest language in India, is part of the family of Dravidian languages ​​that are native to South India and go back thousands of years.

This week’s snafu was not the first time Kannada speakers had said their language was insulted.

Karnataka inspired many novels and short stories RK NarayanOne of the most famous novelists of India. A popular 1980s television adaptation of his work was made in Hindi, the country’s most common language, with Kannada subtitles. Even though Shree Narayan wrote in English, some critics said The adaptation should have been done in Kannada, or at least dubbed into it.

Critic Pratibha Nandakumar wrote in 2012, “It could very well have been dubbed when it was made.” “Why didn’t you think so?”

Google doesn’t have a fact box for this.





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India’s ‘weird’ language? Google had an answer (and attracted a backlash).