Google faces backlash after showing Kannada ‘ugliest language of India’

Bengaluru: Google on Thursday landed in a soup after a search on its portal showed south-Indian language Kannada as the ‘ugliest language in India’.

The Search result sparked an outrage among the Kannadigas, with the Karnataka government threatening to issue a legal notice to the company.

Minister for Kannada, Culture and Forest in Karnataka, Aravind Limbavali, took to Twitter earlier on Thursday and highlighted the controversy, demanding an apology from Google.

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“Kannada language has a history of its own, having come into existence as many as 2,500 years ago! It has been the pride of Kannadigas all through these two-and-a-half millennia. If Kannada is now called ugliest language in India, it is merely an attempt by Google to insult this pride of Kannadigas,” he said in the tweet.

Bengaluru Central MP, C.A. Mohan, also shared a screenshot of the Google Search engine showing Karnataka as ‘ugliest language in India’.

Mohan said Karnataka is home to the great Vijayanagara empire and the 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,” he tweeted.

After Mohan’s screenshot went viral on Twitter, social media platforms were filled with outrage, demanding an unconditional apology from the tech giant as well as removal of any such offensive content associated with any language, including Kannada.

Janata Dal (S) strongman H.D. Kumaraswamy also lashed out at Google and sought to know why Google “behaves in an irresponsible manner” when it comes to the language.

Kannadigas across the country went on to trend their love for Kannada, calling it #QueenOfAllLanguages.

After the backlash, Google not only removed the result from its platform but also issued an unconditional apology.

“We apologise for the misunderstanding and hurting any sentiments. Search isn’t always perfect. Sometimes, the way content is described on the Internet can yield surprising results to specific queries,” a Google India spokesperson told IANS.

“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,” the company spokesperson added.

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