Google has deleted the response and apologised, saying the search results weren’t always perfect.(HT_PRINT)
Google has deleted the response and apologised, saying the search results weren’t always perfect.(HT_PRINT)

Why Google showed Kannada as 'ugliest language of India': Explained

  • Kannada language speakers slammed the search engine giant for insulting the historically significant language, which dates back over 2,000 years.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Shivani Kumar | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 04, 2021 10:54 AM IST

Google attracted a massive backlash in the country recently after it showed Kannada, a language predominantly spoken in the southwest part of India, as the answer to the search query "ugliest languages".

Kannada language speakers slammed the search engine giant for insulting the historically significant language, which dates back over 2,000 years. According to the image shared widely on social media, the answer to the question, “What is the ugliest language in India?” was Kannada. “The answer is Kannada spoken by around 40 million people in south India,” according to a screenshot of the search results.

The Karnataka government also condemned this on Thursday and warned of appropriate action against Google. "This is a very condemnable thing. If Google or anyone else behaves in contempt of Kannada language or insults Kannada, appropriate action will be taken against them," said Arvind Limbawali, minister for forest, Kannada and culture in Karnataka.

Limbawali also said that the secretary of the department has been briefed about the matter and has been instructed to issue a notice to Google immediately.

Meanwhile, the tech giant has deleted the response and apologised, saying the search results weren’t always perfect. Google also said that the concerned team takes a swift corrective action when it is made aware of the issue.

It also said that the it is working to continuously to improve the algorithms and "does not reflect the opinions of Google."

So what exactly happened?

The search results on Google are algorithm-based and depend on keywords for websites and their online content. When a user enters their query, the algorithm looks across the internet for websites and articles that have related keywords and brings the result that it thinks is the best fit.

This is commonly known as search engine optimisation or SEO. Hence, experts say that the real culprits here are sites that may have written content based on these lines and used the keywords.

In December 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told US Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren that how the company has little to no control over the search results after it showed Donald Trump's images to a query related to the word "idiot." During the House Judiciary Committee hearing, Pichai explained that the search results are based on Google search indexes, webpages and the keywords, images attached to those pages.

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