Google issued an apology on Thursday after netizens slammed the search engine for showing Kannada as the “ugliest language in India”. Karnataka Kannada and Culture minister Aravind Limbavali said the government will look into the matter and take action.
A search for the ugliest language in India showed Kannada as the result which led to massive outrage on social media. Screenshots of the results were widely shared and many politicians and celebrities took offence. People reacted with hashtags like Kannada, KannadaQueeenOfAllLangages, BoycottGoogle stating that the search result hurt the sentiments of people. They even demanded an apology from the tech giant.
“Home to the great Vijayanagara Empire, #Kannada language has a rich heritage, a glorious legacy and a unique culture. One of the world’s oldest languages Kannada had great scholars who wrote epics much before Geoffrey Chaucer was born in the 14th century. Apologise @GoogleIndia,” tweeted PC Mohan, MP, Bengaluru Central.
Home to the great Vijayanagara Empire, #Kannada language has a rich heritage, a glorious legacy and a unique culture. One of the world’s oldest languages Kannada had great scholars who wrote epics much before Geoffrey Chaucer was born in the 14th century. Apologise @GoogleIndia. pic.twitter.com/Xie927D0mf
— P C Mohan (@PCMohanMP) June 3, 2021
Former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, in a series of tweets, asked if it was difficult for Google to stop hate against a certain language. However, Google may have to use its translate app to understand the tweets since all of them addressed to Google were in Kannada, condemning the search result and stating that it was unacceptable to term any language in such a way.
ಭಾಷೆ ವಿಚಾರದಲ್ಲಿ @GoogleIndia @Google ಯಾಕಿಷ್ಟು ಅಸೂಕ್ಷ್ಮವಾಗಿ ನಡೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತದೆ? ‘Ugliest language in India’ ಎಂಬ ಹುಡುಕಾಟಕ್ಕೆ #Kannada ಎಂದು ಉತ್ತರ ನೀಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ವೆಬ್ ಪುಟ ತೆಗೆದು ಹಾಕಲು ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರು ಬಂಡೇಳಬೇಕಾಯ್ತೆ? ಯಾವುದೇ ಭಾಷೆ ವಿರುದ್ಧದ ಇಂಥ ದ್ವೇಷವನ್ನು ಮೊದಲೇ ನಿಯಂತ್ರಿಸಲು Googleಗೆ ಅಸಾಧ್ಯವೇ?
— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) June 3, 2021
The page was taken down in the afternoon and by night Google India tweeted an apology, first in Kannada and then in English.
“Search isn’t always perfect. Sometimes, the way content is described on the Internet can yield surprising results to specific queries. We know this is not ideal, but we take swift corrective action when we are made aware of an issue and are continually working to improve our algorithms. Naturally, these are not reflective of the opinions of Google, and we apologize for the misunderstanding and hurting any sentiments,” it said.
We apologize for the misunderstanding and hurting any sentiments. pic.twitter.com/nltsVezdLQ
— Google India (@GoogleIndia) June 3, 2021
Many on Twitter responded to it saying this was the victory of Kannadigas’ unity, some accepted the apology, while others said Google must ensure its algorithms does better.