Search engine giant Google issued an apology to the Kannadiga community of India after searches on its website flagged up their regional language, Kannada, as India’s “ugliest language”.
There are at least 22 different languages officially spoken in India and have been preserved since ancient times. Regional languages are considered an essential part of a community’s cultural pride, and each region in the country has its own language.
The finding erupted earlier this week, offending the Kannadiga community, which is based mainly in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
Google removed the result from the web and added in its apology the fact that “search results are not 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. We apologise for the misunderstanding and hurting any feelings,” Google’s apology note to India’s 40 million Kannada speakers reportedly said.
The American giant’s regrets were inspired by a severe backlash from the Indian community.
Hardanahalli Devegowda Kumaraswamy, Karnataka’s former state chief, took to Twitter to criticise Google for its “irresponsible” behaviour that showed disrespect to a language whose origins reach back at least 2,500 years.
“Is it impossible for Google to curb such hatred against any language?” he asked.
Other BJP leaders such as P.C. Mohan and CT Ravi also leapt to the Indian language’s defence, demanding an apology from Google.
The result is no longer visible on Google when “ugliest language in India” is put in the search bar, save from the headlines to the stories which have been generated by the controversy.